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What should I expect from my trainer for the next 6 weeks?

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Renegade's Comment
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Should I expect my trainer to be grouchy, impatient, or negative in any way? I just want a trainer that has confidence in me and knows that how he trains me to drive and operate is exactly how I'm going to do it the rest of my driving career.

G-Town's Comment
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Renegade there is no way of knowing that or predicting it. Safe to say your trainer will have unique personality that may or may not mesh well with yours. Their "confidence" in your skills and ability is something you will need to earn, don't expect it day one.

When you meet your trainer it's important to have the "expectation" discussion as soon as possible. This is a two-way street, requiring you, the student to take the initiative and ask the trainer to clearly articulate their expectations of you and how they intend to follow the company's training process. During this conversation you should also make sure your expectations are understood by the trainer and attempt to work out any differences before getting underway. If it will help you to remember what's most important, make a list and reference it during the conversation. Communication is a key success factor in trucking, not only during training but also once you are promoted to solo-status. Begin to work on it now, talk to your trainer, be prepared to make adjustments along the way.

Remember you are their guest. While living in their truck, try to be respectful of their wishes. Take ownership of your training experience Renegade.

Good luck.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
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G-Town has covered all the bases about what to do. Yes, the truck is your trainer's home, yes, you and he have certain things to do for your training. This is the place you, as newbie, get to see the world of trucking from behind the steering wheel.

However, as you suppose, there are trainers and then there are trainers. From the bad: O/Os using you to pile on their miles, to the good: trainers who sincerely want to help you get started going strong in your new career.

Trainers are selected by the company with the hopes the trainer can get the new people started will little trouble.

You often can get a change in trainers, but unless your trainer is a personal minion of Satan himself, you might try to keep on keeping on. It's only for 5-6 weeks or so. Learn how the system works. Plan for how you will keep your sleeper, figure out the HOS for yourself​. Things like that.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian M.'s Comment
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As Errol stated their are trainers that use people to have you just run miles, this can happen with o/o or company drivers. Let's not take away from the o/o drivers that really make a difference out there. Many are my friends and miles are secondary when it comes to training.

Bad trainers happen in all sides of the spectrum unfortunately. Most are in it for the right reasons

Gladhand's Comment
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I had super low expectations when getting a trainer, luckily I got a decent one. Ask every question you have, do not be scared to ask. Also a bonus thing, I don't know how political or religious you are, but steer clear from that stuff, you are there to learn how to drive. Those 6 weeks will fly by, believe me, it's been a year since then for me...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Keep in mind that you will meet a ton of drivers and learn from this site. You will think some of what others do is great and forget the rest. Then you will select what you want for your driving.

I'm talking to someone in training right now who is learning what NOT to do...cause his trainer is an aggressive driving speeder. The trainer waits until the loast minute to leave, then stresses about getting to the customer. After venting to me...the trainee said "I haven't learned anything." Then I protested "you just explained to me all the things the guy is doing wrong and what he should be doing...you've learned a lot!"

Ask a ton of questions...get a notebook you can reference when solo. Take notes of big truck stops along the way....places you found parking at night. It will reduce stress when you go solo. Voice record on your phone what he says. Try to remember this is work..not a friendship forming. Use some of your break to ask questions when he is driving.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I just want a trainer that has confidence in me

Oh, you're asking too much there. There isn't a brand new rookie in the industry that a veteran driver should have confidence in. If anyone had confidence in you, you wouldn't need a trainer. That applies to every new driver that comes into this industry.

Here are some great articles we've tagged "The Trainer's Viewpoint" that will help you understand what a trainer goes through and what they're thinking, so you'll better understand where they're coming from:

Article Category: The Trainer's Viewpoint

We also have a bunch of great stuff that will help a lot from our truck driver's career guide:

Chapter 8: Orientation And Training With Your First Company

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Renegade's wish list:

I just want a trainer that has confidence in me and knows that how he trains me to drive and operate is exactly how I'm going to do it the rest of my driving career.

Brett writes the truth. You and your trainer meet, shake hands, and you listen to his rules and conditions. But you, the newbie, are the unknown quantity. If your trainer has had any students before, he needs to figure out your current abilities. You have to earn his confidence.

My trainer became fully confident in my driving, and simply pulled the sleeper curtain closed when I started my "shift". Yes, he always got out to watch my work at a shipper/ receiver, but he had a nice three week tour with me.

He also told me of a previous student, my trainer was afraid to even take a nap when that other student drove.

Just do your best and your trainer might let you run the whole show.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Renegade, training is tough. I don't care how you cut it, as my grandpa would say, "That's a tough nut to cut!"

There's no way they will have confidence in you at the start. To be honest with you, when you get turned out as a solo driver you hopefully won't have a whole lot of confidence in yourself. That little bit of a lack of confidence at the beginning will help to keep you on your toes and maybe keep you from tearing something up real bad.

Confidence comes from a proven track record, something you are just getting started on.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I agree. Having had both great trainees and one who left much to be desired, trust doesn't come blindly and is earned.

That said, I try to make my trainees feel welcome and comfortable on my truck, because I feel like a trainer who is more at ease, won't be as nervous and will drive better. However some trainer's will be quite hard, testing to see if the new driver is going to make it or if they simply don't have the motivation to succeed before they waste their time.

As far as the money goes.. I don't train for the money.. fact is, we don't team during training. Yes I get paid for all miles plus an extra $35 a day. But typically when I have a student, I make less. They don't run like I do, they're not efficient and I'm spending my time teaching, not driving so much. Training for the money isn't worth it and it's exhausting.

After they've been with me a few weeks and I give the ok, that yes, they're capable of more.. my DM will step up the miles a little bit, but it's not real teaming. I typically run more mile's solo than I do when I have a trainee, but sometimes it just clicks and we'll turn a few more miles then I could do alone, but not by much.

Ask questions. Be helpful and committed to learning. Don't argue with your trainer when they're trying to teach you something. Nobody is perfect so just make the best of it and remember, it's on you as to how much you gain from your training. Make the most of your time and I hope you have a great trainer, that's reasonably clean, willing to teach, and fairly knowledgeable.

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.
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