Swift Diary

Topic 19355 | Page 6

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Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

6/9/17

OK! Went to the Academy today and had been told I was scheduled for CDL testing at 0700 hrs. My roommate and I arrived there about 0445 and then the others at 0530 on the Bluebird. The different classes divided and all of us to be tested for CDL met inside the classroom assigned to us. About 0700 the examiners took two or three (hard to remember now it is after midnight) and went outside to begin the examination process. You have to realize there is some preliminary paperwork before they go outside, but-I am describing the basic steps.

Outside they did a Pre-Trip Inspection , then entered the tractor cab to do a safety check and Air Brake Tests. Then they conducted their backing maneuvers which consisted of straight line backing, offset backing and a parallel parking maneuver. If done correctly then they "graduate" to the driving test. If completed within the point spread they received their hard earned CDL.

I was told up front that I was scheduled for 1330 in the afternoon and so there had been a change or miscommunication. I did not care as their time was my time, they are in control here. I am just a student and that's fine, that's the way it is and I certainly am a student. So the waiting began .... Right away one of the students(#1) returned as he failed the Air Brake test and this halted his CDL testing(although he had completed the Pre Trip Inspection test). He is to return the next week to try again.

Then another(#2) returned as he did something not acceptable in the first mile of the driving test (he did complete the Pre Trip Inspection, Air Brake test and backing maneuvers correctly though). Then #3 returned as this student completed the Pre Trip, Air Brake test and backing maneuvers. But agains something was wrong on the driving test and so failed. I think #3 may return in a while to the Academy to try again. So, that was three off the bat that failed.

Then they took three others (#4 and #5 and #6) and two went through each step and went out driving and eventually returned, our first CDLees in our class! One of the three failed.

After the initial failures, all this was done in driving rain coming down. I felt bad for all of them out there. All this worked to my advantage as each student would return with a "story" about their testing, be it good/bad, success/failure. I listened and kind of gleaned helpful information from all this. Also I started to handle my nerves and and calmed down as I saw there was nothing to be gained by walking around and being a basket of nerves. My habit is to pray and this I did and just got calmed down. By the time my turn came at 130 p.m., I was doing real well and it seems everyone had left. Except for the fellow ahead of me I was the only one waiting for testing. The only other people there were the other classes (way out on the other side of the course on the back range, and a couple of instructors in the office and an office worker.

My examiner came and asked me to come outside. Oh, by this time the rained had stopped and it was still pretty cloudy but not raining anymore. We did the pre-trip inspection, then I did my in cab safety check and air brake test. When we first got in the cab, i looked across to him, took a deep breath and let it out as slow as I could, and said, "Man, its a beautiful day isn't it?" He looked at me like I was nuts. It is a delaying tacking I use to some variation in public speaking. This gives me time to calm down and get my heart rate down, ha, ha!

Well got that done and did my backing maneuvers. Offset was great, parallel . . . i just put it in there. Neat, easy smeasy. Then he got in the cab and said something to this effect "congratulations, you have earned the right to test on the road". It made me smile. He got in the cab and we headed out and awhile later we returned. He said "congratulations you now have a CDL". Welcome words!! I thanked him for helping me realize this opportunity!

We went inside and I did paperwork and awhile later I was heading out. YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHAW!!!!

Before I left I received a diploma and all and paperwork about reporting for orientation. All the instructors came by to congratulate me. It was real neat. I really appreciate them, I enjoyed each day and learned an awful lot, had a blast and if i had had to stay another week it would have been just a continuation of learning and having fun. BUT, am glad it's done.

I arrived home to Plainview, TX about midnight and will leave here on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 to head to Orientation at the Swift Lancaster Terminal at Dallas, TX. It is three days long, then assuming I complete that ok I will go out with my mentor and all that.

I am glad I went, I am glad I stuck it out, and I am glad I was last to be tested as it helped me to calm down. If you go to this Academy I would suggest in the start of your third week and if you wish to try to make it work to your advantage ask that you be tested late in the afternoon or last. This will give you time to hear about the others experiences, give you time to calm down also.

Night!

-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.

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

Good job man. Good luck out there.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations! Welcome to Swift! Enjoyed reading your diary,...one that I'll refer others to.

Best wishes for continued success. Start a mentoring thread if so inclined. You might want to search on some of Victor's Swift diary. It's current and he recently became a solo driver.

Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

6/10/17 Thanks Big T and G Man.

Do you think I ought to start a separate thread for the mentor process or continue on this thread? If mentor, where? Here under this topic or different area on the site?

Happy Hwys!

-Traffic Jam

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

6/10/17 Thanks Big T and G Man.

Do you think I ought to start a separate thread for the mentor process or continue on this thread? If mentor, where? Here under this topic or different area on the site?

Happy Hwys!

-Traffic Jam

Yes, if you don't mind.

Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

6/10/17

OK. Back at home from Corsicana Swift Academy and have got some sleep, and rested. Thanks to TT and all the help here. Couldn't have done it without you. Thank God I have arrived to this spot in my training!

thank-you.gif

Extra things about this experience:

When I left out of here I had my duffle bag and then extra bags full of clothes and supplies and etc. I took a cooler to use in the motel, equipment and items I had from my brief trucking career before this. I thought I might be heading right to Orientation from the Academy. I did not know how to figure laundry as I was unsure as to access to such. So took lots of clothes. Looking back here are some comments:

Duffle: I had a top loader zipper-neat duffle I have and wanted to not pack it tight/up/full. But, well this is like backpacking, if you have a BIG backpack you will take MORE stuff and it will be MORE heavier. Yeah, I never did have enough room in that duffle. IF I had this to do over again I would take less clothes. I received advice to take from 1-6 weeks of clothes. Six weeks of clothes is a big duffle bag! Ha, less is best. Laundromats are available.

Cooler was good. It is one that is electric and may be plugged into a cig lighter on a truck or AC in wall.

Books, notes, flash cards from High Road Training, CDL book, etc: Did not look at the State CDL "book" while at the Academy. They had all this in their own "book" and customized to their training and training plan. We did receive a "book" put together by the Academy and it is a great reference for the maneuvers, info on the course, theory and all of trucking. I did review the flash cards from the High Road I had put together. Sometimes I did this in the back of the cab when we were out driving. It could get boring . . . . But I reviewed them on weekends and days off also. Not constantly, but all this helped me keep my focus.

I feel, If you are new to trucking-study the shifting pattern. I think it is not to early right off to study this as soon as you know what pattern you will be using (wait until school and find out if possible). It sounds dorky but sit down on a chair and pretend you are shifting and work through it. I mean work it, forwards, backwards, upside down, inside out, on and on and on. Pretend you are in hi and then in low. Flip the "flipper" or whatever you are going to call it and work it out. I did this when I knew it was coming every hour on my evenings off. Then once we started I would talk outlaid and give a patter on what I was doing, e.g., "going to 5th . .. now to 6th . . . ". You get the idea. I stopped that late on the 2nd day of driving and immediately my shifting suffered. I picked it back up and immediately I was "good" again. Also, when I was driving on one weekend I did not review my shifting like I had been doing. That Monday, my shifting was not so good to say the least. So at lunch I started doing my "exercises". Students would walk by and make comments, some even laughed. Funny thing, they are still there, I am at home :-) So, I won't let a weekend go by while I am in this process right now like that again. I can think I will eventually get to the point where I won't need to do this.

Final remarks: When I started this I meant to just talk about the duffle, ha, ha. But when I return for orientation i intend to take some business casual clothes to wear so as to make a good impression. It is my opinion that first impressions are often lasting. I don't know if I will really "meet" anyone where this would make a difference. However, I know if I don't prepare . . . I will regret it. Seems like this always happens to me. At any rate, these I will leave in my car when I boogie with my mentor.

This might be boring here: my duffle (remember this is summer) will have probably only one pair of jeans, 4-5 pairs of shorts, tennis shoes, sandals(I'll be wearing one or the other), 7 socks, 10 drawers, about 6 T shirts, maybe 2 golf type collared shirts, rain coat(Frogg-Togs), long johns (long john and rain coat double as cool weather "coat", gloves, Rxs. My goal is to pack light.

Small backpack: contains pens, paper, etc., and in the big compartment for bathroom bag-personal hygiene items, things for showering, flip flops on outside in an attached pocket, small towel, wash rag, etc. I can grab this and go.

Only other thing is sleeping bag and clipboard.

That's it other than a ball cap to wear, pocket knife and things like that.

Well, this I learned at "CDL School" and so that is done and I guess this about completes this "Swift Diary" on earning my CDL. I hope someone likes this and learned from my experience. Please leave comments, it only takes a second. Its our only way to know if you appreciated the diary. I will now begin a diary somewhere here on TT about my mentor experience that is to start with Orientation on June 14, 2017. I will try to label it: "Traffic Jam and Mentor", something along those lines.

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifT-H-E E-N-D!

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.
Partagas's Comment
member avatar

Congrats on passing the test and earning your CDL!! Good luck with the next phase. Great diary, too.

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.
Traffic Jam's Comment
member avatar

Just backing up for a moment . . . I wish to thank Swift Corsicana Academy/Swift in general.

What happened is I rolled over a 401(k) into another program and took out enough to pay the school off in one lump sum. For this I received a $1100.00 discount from Swift and I felt that was pretty nice of the company.

If you are thinking about the Swift Corsicana Academy please know that myself and two other friends who are all driving think it was great.

-Traffic Jam

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