In Training, I Need Advice.

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Eric G.'s Comment
member avatar

Derek, I don't think Prime is going to quit in you fir this at all. First off the entire fleet is moving to Auto. If your having issues in a manual they will most likely get you into a trainers truck that is auto.

I have been solo for a month now. I did all my training in autos. I got a manual for my solo truck. I grind gears and have even missed gears. Like Old School mentioned it's about how we fix the issues that makes us drivers. Don't worry about not being good st this right now. Your at best 4 weeks into a new career.

If your trainer doesn't have confidence in you then, I suggest talking with him/her. See if there is a way or plan you two can agree on to resolve this. If not speak to your FM and ask for a new trainer. I only say this because if your trainer can not find a way to trust you again, I don't think you would be getting the quality training you deserve.

Just my two cents.

Fm:

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.
Blakowt's Comment
member avatar

GREETINGS Derrick,

YOU can ask for or request another Trainer. It's been done many times at ALL Carriers. Nobody gets along with everyone. My wife went through 2 trainers while she was a Newbie in late 1999 - early 2000 and stepped out of the truck in Buffalo, NY with the first "trainer" at that company. Second Trainer was far superior yet after time with him, the company decided she wasn't right for them, so she was quickly taken by a better company.

Driver Training, as it has been mentioned, should be a set time in the seat as well a set amount of miles, but sadly at some mega-carriers, it's "hurry up and learn so you can become a trainer". Like, for example SWIFT (now SWIFT-KNIGHT) advertises: "After 3 months driving experience, you can become a Trainer". That's scary enough to us old timers but what does one do, quit, not likely.

I'm now part of the "old school league" in that I went to a Driver Training School in late 1998, then off with a Owner Op. A learning experience just before Burlington Motor Carriers folded or was bought.

WE didn't have automatics in the late 90's or in the early 2000's.

It wasn't long till I got on with Bulldog Hiway Express in No. Charleston, SC. Flatbeds (known in our business as Skateboards). That was the start to the "jumping around" phase. Had a Trainer, he was cool. Made some long distance runs and before the company required 2 weeks was up, we were figuratively fighting over who was driving when. Stayed there almost 4 months. Was tired of "must tarp EVERY load". It got better. I learned to prefer the smaller companies (4-50 trucks) as they were easier and I wasn't "a number".

Recently quit a O.T.R./Dedicated gig of over 5.7 years because of differences in opinions of equipment between the Owner and I. Released much stress and I'm working for a Driver Temp. Service running Local, so it's all good.

What I'm saying is that regardless of what happens at your FIRST DRIVER EMPLOYMENT GIG, such activity does not indicate how your potential will develop. You may want to stay at PRIME, you may not: The choice is YOURS.

Scraping Trailer tires on curbs is not big deal. It's when drivers scrape their trailer tires over short Walls, R.R. Tracks, Curbs, other vehicles, along buildings, etc., that present problems and such things happen daily during training as well after training.

The first YEAR is the decision time to either go further down the road or opt out. Either way you're still respected.

Thank You for Your Time in reading this small post. AIN'T NO FEELIN' LIKE 40 TON WHEELIN'!! CHEERS!!

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi. I went through PSD/TNT almost two years ago and am.training my first TnT now.

You will grind gears. You will stall the truck. You will shift rough. My trainee stalled the truck in Ft Worth construction traffic and felt so guilty, expecting me to yell. Hit the hazards, check your flipper, start in a lower gear and get going. That's it. The people behind you have no idea if you have mechanical issues or if someone stopped in front of you or what. Who cares what they think, they can go around you. She got upset she was grinding gears. I don't care cause I'm a company driver. Prime will give me a new truck in a few months so grind away and get your practice. Lol my trainer once said to me "why are you grinding my gears?" I said back "why are you a trainer if you don't expect students to grind your gears?"

The "I'm giving up on you" may have been some stupid motivational tactic to try to get you to up your game. That works with some and not with others. You should be talking to your FM once a week about things you need to work on and things you have improved on.

There is NO way you would get sent home. None. You had no accident. No critical events. Nothing to warrant it. You are almost a third of the way there. If he wants you off the truck, so be it. You'll get another trainer. Some of these older guys forget what being new is like, and it is frustrating. But it is a skill you learn.

As far as teaming...yeah that is what Tnt is like. Coast to coast and across mountains. I hated TNT so badly iasnt sure I wanted to train, not even for my friend. Showers, food and laundry can be a lot less frequent than going solo.

And personally I hate that Tnt gives the impression that is what trucking is like. It isn't. Each driver runs his/her truck a different way. When you get yours you will call the shots and stop when and where you want. Plus you will get plenty of sleep...which I doubt you are getting.

A lot of what you are feeling is typical training frustration. Hang in there. Good luck and keep us posted.

Fm:

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Derrick B.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you Rainy! I appreciate you painting a better picture of what to expect after TnT , because this has been a rough transition. The sleep part especially is something to look forward to lol. At this point it's hard to imagine what 5 consecutive hours in a non moving truck feels like.

Yesterday my trainer admitted this week is the most miles he's run with Prime yet. You don't say? So my second full week in I help you run like a mad man and happen to make only 2 mistakes towards the end of two separate 10 hour shifts. But it's not for me. Ok guy. Sorry I'm just being bitter lol. Onward I go, thanks eveyone!

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

OK..I'm going to translate from "miserable trucker language" to modern English for you here...."this is the most miles I've run with Prime yet" equals "Damn! You are the best student I've had and I'm making a ton of money off of you. Those stupid mistakes you are making just costs me a whole 30¢ in profits cause you wasted my fuel and slowed us down, can't you do better?"

rofl-1.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Well that didn't take long. On the way back to Pittston to get off this truck. I drove last night from OH to RI. We were delivering in MA the appointment was for 8PM so we figured probably would unload about then and then get a load the next morning.

I live in RI so I had someone meet me and pick me up at 5am. Was just going to spend as much time at home as I could, possibly the night. Got about 3 hours of sleep then got a message with a preplan and a call from my trainer saying lets roll. Was dissapointed but it is what it is.

I got to the truck and my trainer started right in on me. Last night I had pulled out of a truck stop and started down a hill. Picked up speed and couldn't get it in sixth. He heard the gears grind from the back and said go higher. As he was saying it I found seventh and life went on. Would have found the gear if he didn't say anything, but he took it as if he didn't say something then I would have just struggled forever. And his logic is its such a simple task that i should have just been able to handle it without him saying anything, but since it happened, and I didn't get the gear fast enough, that I'm not picking all this up and I can't do this.

Was literally pounding the steering wheel saying it's simple and I should be picking this up. Ok man. So I said maybe we should go back to the terminal and get me someone else. He agreed so that's where we're going.

Once he calmed down he admitted it might just be him. That he's been bouncing from student to student and maybe he's just burnt out and doesn't have the patience. I'd say so.

I really feel like I've made good improvement, but driving on edge when you know struggling to find a gear or something is going to end up in a talk about how I think too slow is stressful. I hope everything works out with s new trainer, but as long as prime doesn't give up on me, I'm not giving up on myself. Thanks guys I'll let you know the deal.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.
Derrick B.'s Comment
member avatar

One of the hardest things right now is I really feel I'm limbo about how I'm actually doing since I'm not really being evaluated. Like is the rest of what I'm doing ok? Are this mistakes I'm making actually as bad as he's saying?

Susan said something about an evaluation sheet or something. Yeah that's not happening lol. What I'm getting is laughed at for slowing down behind someone doing 45 in a tight construction zone with two cement barriers on either side, instead of going around the guy on the left doing 65. Or being rediculed for saying these hills are intense in Oregon and just getting a what do you mean you're only doing 60. Ok I'll shut up then...

Sorry for just spewing, don't have any other truckers to bounce these frustrations off here obviously.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey, don't sweat it in the least. You're supposed to take things real slowly in the beginning but sometimes that's tough for an experienced driver to accept patiently. I mean, you've seen how most people drive, even other truckers. Does it seem like patience is a common virtue out there? Heck no! Unfortunately that's true with some trainers, also.

I think you'll find it refreshing to get a new perspective on how you're doing from a new trainer. All of that built up tension will be gone, and hopefully this trainer will be a little more patient. Just keep learning all you can, ask a lot of questions, and focus on the most important thing of all - don't put a scratch on that truck. That's always the most important thing.

No one is going to care much if you grind the gears or can't remember which way to slide the tandems or take 20 minutes to get backed into a tight spot. As long as you don't hit anything, you're easy to get along with, and you keep learning all you can then things will work out great.

Keep us updated! We'd like to know how things go with the next trainer.

And try to leave on the best terms you can with this one. Things may not have been rosy, but you were both doing your best and I'm certain he taught you a lot during your time together. Thank him for that and wish him the best.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Dan R.'s Comment
member avatar

Speed(be it on flat ground or hills) seems to be a common theme from that last post, so perhaps a reminder that the best speed to go is whatever speed YOU, not your trainer, not the folks behind you, not anyone else, feel safe traveling that is at or below the speed shown on the speed limit signs.

And as someone who has been all over the country now and live in Oregon, I'll reassure you: the hills in Oregon ARE intense. You say Cabbage Hill to pretty much anyone who's been doing this for any length of time and they know what you're talking about. Then you have the mess that is I-5 south of Roseburg, and pretty much all of central Oregon. There's worse out there, but you're absolutely right in saying Oregon hills are intense.

Lucky Life's Comment
member avatar

As always Brett has shared his Words of Wisdom and I personally would read his post at least a dozen times. I can only imagine the intensity of getting the first 200k under the belt and it's OK to be cautious and safe, I definitely appreciate that especially if you ever roll up on me somewhere in the DFW area (wait till you roll thru here). As far as Hills and Mountains, I lived in CO for 50 years and 16 of those where in the Mountains, drove I-70 and US 285 lots of times just to see cars twirling past me and Truck breaks blazing away, can't tell you how many times on the West side of the Eisenhower Tunnel I saw deep tire grooves in the Runaway ramp. Just be safe and learn, don't allow any Trainer to teach you bad habits and unsafe techniques that could get you in trouble down the road. I am not a CDL Driver but I do share the road with them every day which has taught me what to except once I take the leap into a Big Rig.

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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