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My 4CDL.com Training Log

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Chris's Comment
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I started training with 4CDL.com through the local Community College on April 29th, 2017.

It's been a little bumpy so far, on their end, but luckily i've done enough self study and my other 3 classmates, well 2 of them are self starter, motivated individuals as well, one of them, he'll probably be here for the next 6 months if he doesn't quit his crap.

We were in the classroom for 3 days total so far, we have 3 in classrooms left, they seem to be very unorganized, first weekend, great! Second weekend, he forgor he started us, sunday that weekend a new instructor came in and got us through another 10 of the 33 chapters, so we're up to chapter 18. Surprisingly i've already known everything up to this point, from my self study of course.

The third weekend, 2 instructors were fired due to their lack of showing up, so class was cancelled the entire weekend.

The fourth weekend, they have a new instructor, we were out on the range because he had a new class starting this coming weekend and he said he'd just start them where we left off, that the order didn't matter. awesome! The fourth weekend was spent on the range, we pre tripped from 7 am to 3pm, we got REALLY good at it, lol. Sunday we went in, each did a pre trip on the truck, i was proud of myself, i went through it in under 30 minutes and hit everything perfectly, didnt miss a thing. I have a bit of confidence and i know diesels a bit as i used to work on them, so i do have that. I also knew air brakes pretty well before hand.

That same sunday, we got up in the truck, i dont know hoe to drive s manual, but this new instructor is amazing! He had me up to par in about 20 minutes, my take offs are pretty smooth, then he had us doing some bscking menuveurs, with his tips, i didn't hit a single cone. Put it back in the hole every time with even space on both sides of the truck. I do drive with a 30ft gooseneck horsetrailer, so again, i'm sure that helps in a small amount. I liked his 1..2...3.. stop turn to straighten truck and trailer get closer, turn 1..2.. start straightening, with the rear end in, use a pull up and voila straight back. Lol

This coming weekend we're supposed to be in the classroom, if he forgets... again... well, to the range we'll go, except ill have my sunscreen this time, not this time sun, not this time. Lol

While the delays are irritating, im not letting them get to me, such as life, right? I'm still raking in a good paycheck, cushioning my savings account, and preparing for that potential loss of income in my first year over the road.

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.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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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Chris, Howse it going? I enjoyed what you wrote? Give us an update and keep up the good work.

-Traffic Jam

Chris's Comment
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So I just completed this weekend, the day was cut short by a rain storm, however he did let myself and 2 others stay to practice some even in the rain, we are pretty much the 3 that have progressed faster in the 3 days we've been out on the range faster than some of those who have been there for a few months...

Today was the first day i've done offsets on the range, it was also the only day I needed, but BEFORE I gor in a truck to learn that, I took the BRAND NEW students on a walk around pre-trip inspection , I started with the lights and dot tape walk around, then exhaust system, then fuel system, then right side of the engine bay, left side of the engine bay, etc, etc. I explained each part to them since they've never seen them before, I explained their function, what can happen if those parts fail, then how to make since of what to say on inspection. I reiterated to them over and over that it's not enough to just see the part and call out the pre-trip terminology, it's extremely important to actually know why they are there, how they work, and how to inspect them correctly. Like I said, I had some knowhow before hand, that helped me immensely, but I probably would have only taken a day maybe 2 longer had I needed to learn the parts.

To me, the "what" isn't enough, I believe you need to know "why" too. It makes the learning sit better with people in my experience.

Not sure if I mentiones it, I have my fire fighter I, fire fighter II, and went to college for emergency medical services (emt-b, emt-e, Paramedic.) I have a little observational experience in how information sits better with most people, the instructors were pretty happy with the way I went about it.

By the end of the day when I went back over there, they had the engine parts down with the why, how, and what. It was awesome, I felt accomplished in being successful with my own day and helping them out. Of course they had a pre trip paper to follow, but they weren't even needing it at the end of the day, not sure about the guy who left because he was going to a party..... I will leave my feelings out of this.

So about my own learning, I learned how to off set the instructor had me pull past the end cone just right so i'd hit it when I turned the wheel the way it needed to be turned, I said something, he said "i know, but this is your first offaet so go with it."

Guys i messed up under hia instruction more than when he finally shut-up. I still didn't hit a single cone in my off except the one at the end of the pull up point of that first offset where he told me to set up.

Second offset, I told him, I believe I can get it back in the hole alone this time.

I set my brakes first, gor out and fixed tge stupid cone he made me hit them got back in foot on the clutch pushed trailer and parking brakes in appli3d the service brakes, put the truck into second gear and pulled up with the end range cone just at my bumper so i would hit it on my side. I was offsetting from right to left this time. I then pulled them stick into netreul and up into reverse, okay so i'm pretty sucky on the clutch not having ever driven a manual, that's my only set back, but i was smooth for the first time i let off the brake then clutch and began to offset, without even stopping i off set and put the truck into the hole, got it straight without pulling up even once, and I backed through. Not a single cone was in danger in my gentle, patient hands. I then did it over and over and over. I did 8 offsets all without a single pull up, even in the rain. In the rain of course I had to put the window up, and I had to crank up the a/c and the rain was so hard I had to have the windshielf wipers on full speed. It was cool though, I hate volvos. They have a nice peterbilt 387 there with a cat c15 and eaton 10 speed, I LOVE IT. Volvo doesn't feel as homey as it does, good thing i'll be driving a t680 which has a similar feeling.

Next for Virginia I need to learn parallel parking, shifting at the shift pad, and road driving. After I learn parallel parking, i'll go to the shift pad. That will be my barrier, but if i could just stop over thinking, i know i'll be fine...

I'll stop babbeling on and on, found out my pre trip is spot on all the way around in cab and brake test. And i did perfect offsets all day. I don't understand why some of these people can parallel and offset but cant straight back to save their lives. Does that make sense?

Thank you for reading!

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Chris, Howse it going? I enjoyed what you wrote? Give us an update and keep up the good work.

-Traffic Jam

Thank you Traffic Jam, it's going very well, thank you, how are things on your end?

I just updated, but i'd also like to add, though I have done well, I am not afraid to ask questions when i need to ask questions, and believe me, I ask them a lot, today just happened to be less, but it was more of "what am i doing wrong on ____, how can I improve?" today.

I also asked if they'd teach me a 90 degree alley back after i finish getting my cdl at DMV , they said yes. That made me happy.

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.

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.

Chris's Comment
member avatar

I haven't updated in awhile, life has been well, to say the least, hectic, but school is great! It took me less than a hour to learn the parallel park, I run through my pre trip basically, I do it fsst according to them, but to me i feel like i'm taking my time, I hit every part, I finally started remebering to actually call out and touch the engine block lol, as if it's not obvious where it is, oh well.

I am a weekend guy, but they let said I could come anytime during the week if I wanted to, so I did that on a friday. Saturday wasn't much of anything special, I took my final in class exam, 104 questioks, omly got 1 wrong due to misreading, oh well, I still maintain my 4.0 average lol.

Sunday was exciting, father's day! Funny thing, the only people who showed up to class at all were all fathers, the rest who didn't show up aren't at all.. lol! And even then, only 4 of us showed up ON TIME aka 15 to 30 minutes early, i'm always early.

Anywho, we pre tripped the truck and got on the road, i didn't do any road driving where cars existed the student in the class ahead of me did, but then they finished and we drove to the shift pad (an empty less used back road that goes in circles, TAKING ANOTHER LEFT TURN!!!)

As you well know, or should if you've been reading, i've never driven manual, well.... It worked to my advantage, I double clutched and never tried to single clutch it. My forst few shifts and first brake to a stop were well, JUMPY JUMPY. I then started shifting very smooth, I'd get all the way up to 7th, about 25mph theb down shift to 4th. The instructor was able to stop giving me direction. After only 10 minutes, i'm so proud of myself, not trying to toot my horn, just feeling proud. Impressed everyone in the truck, he even held a conversation with the other students because he was so confident in my ability at that point. Wasn't nearly as difficult as U thought it would be, and splittimg the gears? Psh, easy. Now i can't afford to take an extra day off for class this week so i'm waiting till saturday to get back in the truck, fortunetly, i catch on and 99% of the time retain everything i learn perfectly.

So I am at this point gonna continue rotating on practicing all my back maneuveurs, doing 3 or 4 pre trips a day, and of course get some time of the shift pad now! :) Can't wait till I get out on the road, i'm sure it'll be very soon, I am doing my best to finish fast by taking extra days. Orientation is July 31st, it was the 17th, but I talked to the recruiter and told her about the weather related and instructor related setbacks and she pushed it back for me so i'd have wiggle room.

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.

Chris's Comment
member avatar

I haven't posted in awhile, but I fonished CDL school and tested on 07/25/2017 then got on a plane to Tulsa, OK on 07/30/2017 to start Orientation with Melton Truck Lines on 07/31/2017.

I won't get too much into Melton Truck Lines as this thread is about 4CDL.com out of the Hampton, VA Thomas Nelson Community College campus. However, I will say I am still here and will be at Orientation tomorrow! I am 100% sure i'll be here to graduate Sunday, I am loving the sweat and hard work. If you're looking for a easy, cushy job, don't do flatbed. I mean, the concepts are easy, it's just hard in battling the sweat that drips off your forehead across your safety glasses, glasses fogging up, although you use your bodyweight mostly for binders and straps, it still takes a certain amount of strength. Laziness can get you or even worse someone else killed.

Anywho, as far as 4CDL in Hampton Virginia goes, they have some good instructors and some **** poor instructors.

If you pay cash, the training is $3995, financed $4995, they take many different grants, however I know nothing about them as I paid cash up front.

Gerald is a great in classroom instructor, he's okay on the road, but not my desired road trainer, he is good at teaching backing too.

Larry is a great road trainer, I never would have gotten to where I am on my parallel parking and shifting if it weren't for him. He got to me where I put the truck in parallel park with only 1 half pull up. He got my shifting to where it was smooth with rare grinds or scrapes without dumping the clutch either. I have a lot of respect for this man, do right right by him, he'll do right by you, this means you get out what you put in.

If you decide to go here, help clean up at the end of the day! I know you're gonna be tired, sweaty or cold, ot sucks, but they do a lot to help you, help them out too!

Rick is the head of the Hampton part of the program, good guy, he does a lot of the behind the scenes work, you won't see him too much, but remember he does work hard. All the instructors want to help you, but don't sit around, practice! If you're not backing, go pre trip, step in and go through pre trip with others, it'll help you hone your knowledge. The parts are an issue, you can learn them in a couple hours, it's a matter of fofuring out the what, why, and how to each part so you can link the correct terminology to each component.

Back every single chance you get. Don't complain about not getting any road time if you can't back in darn right near perfectly. If you can't back a truck in with ease, then you don't know how to control that truck well enough to be on the road anyways.

If you drive a manual, forget everything you know. Also, before you go to the shift pad to learn shifting, LEARN YOUR GEAR PATTERN. Study IT EVERYDAY until it's engrained into your head. I sat up in a truck that was turned off and went through the gears with rhe shift pattern written in front of me, it truly head, i bounced through that shift pad for 2 days then went on the road, all i had to do was smooth out my braking and clutching.

These are little heads up tips from me that they won't tell you. Don't bad mouth instructors, if you do, they won't wanna help you, why should they if you goof off and bad mouth them? They are humans too. Just because you think they arent doing anything doesnt mean they arent. Larry and Gerald are good trainers, respect them.

Another thing, don't skip class, especially if you are a weekend day guy, unles syou are sick, but communicate that via call to larry and gerald or rick if neither of those two are working that day. If I had to miss a day on the weekend due to life in general, I always made it up during the week when i could. I even went extra days during the weeks. Over 12 weeks, i probably got 300+ hours although my certificate says 160. They stopped counting my attendance because i went over hours a month prior, but that's the beautiful part of 4CDL, if you aren't ready for testing, they don't send you unless you whine and raise cane. If you need resfreshers later down the road, guess what? Refreshers are free for life! They won't gaurentee you a job, but they will also take time to help you with job placement based on your desires and abilities. The recruiters that do come to the school seems to be brutally honest because rick, gerald and larry do NOT allow them to Bull crap you, they'll throw them out, with that said, if you don't hear a company suggested, there is a reason, they bull crapped in the class room or on ths lot when they came most likely.

Anywho, that is all I have to say, I rate the school overall 4 out of 5 stars. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

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.
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