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Prime Inc - My new career

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Strongman Trucker's Comment
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Paul - yeah I was pretty much running around all day yesterday and today. Good luck on the road!!!

Ed, thanks for the update! I am so glad to hear you got past the blood pressure test. I hadn't seen you around before I headed out yesterday so I feared the worst. Good luck out there!

The trainer/instructor I spoke with yesterday turned out to be a no go. Long story short.. he straight up lied to me about his smoking habits. (I hate the smell of smoke.. it makes me sick to my stomach).. and I was getting a really weird feeling about him. So I sent him a message this morning to let him know that we were not a good match and he should look for a different student and so on. He never responded.. glad I went with my gut feeling and did not go on the road with him. I ended up seeing him leave the campus inn with a new student. Him not responding just reassured me of my weird feeling about him. It's rude not to respond. Period. Even if your mad.

But all is good! Tomorrow I head over to the training pad to drive some trucks and maybe I'll get a call from an instructor soon.. been here for almost two weeks now and I want to get headed on the road.

Paul's Comment
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You undoubtedly made the right choice. I have butted heads with my trainer a bit and have found just how difficult it can be to live in a closet with somebody. It has taken a couple of days but we're getting along really well, but we started with common respect and honesty. Start with dishonesty and it surely would not work. I hope you find a good one soon.

Strongman Trucker's Comment
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9/11/17 Monday:

This past Thursday I got a trainer.. he's a very knowledgeable and awesome dude and I feel good about heading out on the road with him. I'm also his first student. Thursday-Sunday I worked on my backing skills, pre trip, and some night driving with my trainer. I was a little discouraged the first few times I attempted backing but my trainer saw something in me and personally asked me in Thursday if he could be my trainer and what he could do to get me on his truck. (He smokes and I originally did not want a trainer that smokes.. he did promise me certain things and I know he'll keep up his end of the bargain regarding his smoking). Today we are leaving on our first load to Columbus Ohio for a 0500 delivery tomorrow morning. My trainer will be doing most of the driving to get us there on time but after this load I'll be doing all of the driving. I'm excited! Wish me luck and I'll try and update again later this week!

Paul's Comment
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Awesome! Good luck, Ed, I know you'll do great out there. Enjoy your adventure. :-)

Strongman Trucker's Comment
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Well my trainer and I arrived at our appointment time at 0500 to unload our first load together. After we arrived we went over the process with the paperwork and they started unloading at 0600 and finished at 0900. (At this point I've been awake for over 24 hours since we pulled an all nighter to get here on time). I finally got to sleep at 1000 and slept until about 1600-1700. My trainer and I got some food and went over some pre trip inspection. We just got our dispatch for our next load. It looks like we will be leaving early tomorrow morning to Michigan and driving a load to Colorado to drop off on Saturday 9/16. So I'm going to get some good experience in different types of driving these next few days :) after Saturday we will be making our way back to Springfield MO so i can get ready to get that Trifecta!!!

I hope people are reading my blog. If there is anything else someone wants me to add to the blog or if anyone has questions about orientation or the psd process I'd be happy to answer.

Btw.. Prime is an awesome company and I definitely made the right decision coming here!

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.
Strongman Trucker's Comment
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Driving into Denver was boring at first but once I started seeing the mountain ridge line about 50 miles out it was a beautiful site to see. We arrived at our 90 roughly 5 hours early on 9/15 but they ended up taking us early so it worked out pretty good. They unloaded the truck which took a few hours then found a flying J to get some sleep for the night. Woke up in the morning and got a much needed shower before driving to Dodge City, Kansas to pick up our next load. This was one of the longest most boring drives of my life.. fields.. more fields.. ghost towns.. and again more fields. But we picked up our load in Dodge city and found a flying j to get some rest for the night.

I tell you what.. I lucked out and got a really good instructor.. we have a lot in common and we get along really well. He's always encouraging and has never yelled at me. Having a very positive instructor is something I'm really happy about. So, for anyone coming to prime.. nothing wrong with being picky in who you pick for your instructor to go on the road with during psd. I turned down the first trainer who called me and I'm glad I did.

It's now the morning of 9/17/17 and we are about to head out on our long trip to our 90 in Columbia, SC.. and then back to Springfield! I'll update again in a few days!

-Strongman Trucker

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.
Strongman Trucker's Comment
member avatar

So, since I'm finishing up PSD this weekend and taking my CDL tests. I wanted to see if there is any Prime Tanker drivers that could tell me more about driving tanker..? I originally wanted to go tanker but ever since I arrived at Prime 4 weeks ago I've heard nothing but bad things.. (examples that I've heard.. always something wrong with the tanker trailers, trailer tires are worn down too low most of the time, surge is really bad and will knock you into oncoming traffic.. just to name a few). I live in PA and thought tanker would be a perfect fit for me since I live in the northeast region. I've also considered doing my TNT in flatbed instead of tanker.. but would only do that if the rumors about the tanker division are true.

So what I'm asking is if anyone in the prime tanker division could give me advice or more info on the tanker division..? Maybe someone can give me better information on what's going on in the tanker division.. from someone who actually drives tanker for Prime.

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Hey Strongman, sounds like you are progressing nicely. Good for you; "get 'er done".

Although I have never driven a tanker for Prime, I have some experience with pool-water, fire company tankers, mainly tri-axle. At issue is the food-grade type; they are smooth bore, un-baffled, thus the sloshing liquid takes on a life of it's own and will definitely effect the handling characteristics. The surge can be intense (far worse when NOT fully loaded) and if not careful, will knock you clear through an intersection, or worse. I move a lot of bottled water for Walmart. I can definitely feel the extra movement of the liquid when hauling the "larger" water cooler type of containers. I give myself more stopping distance and begin to back down sooner as I approach a protected intersection. That said, we emphatically advise entry level drivers gain some driving experience (like 3 months of safe operation) with OTR dry van , reefer or flat bed before committing to a tanker job. Yes, it's "that" different.

Here is a link to archived information you can read that get on more specifics: Driving a tanker

My second suggestion is to post something on the General Forum calling out "Any Prime Tanker Drivers" (in the subject line). I honestly don't recall any recent members performing this type of work for Prime, doesn't mean there aren't lurkers willing to respond to you though. You might get some hits from other tanker-yankers, likely from one of the Mods, Daniel. He drives a "doubles" fuel delivery truck in Cali, but started his career with Prime several years ago. He can certainly offer his experience doing this type of work more-so than I.

Good luck on your tests!

OTR:

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.

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Strongman Trucker's Comment
member avatar

G-town - thank you for all of the advice!

I just arrived back in Springfield, MO! We were supposed to arrive last night but we hit a lot of bumper to bumper traffic in Atlanta and I ran out of hours so we called it a night about 3 hours from Springfield. We got up at 1am and the truck would not start.. we tried multiple things and it still would not start.. we ended up calling road assistance and a tow truck got to us around 430am. They were able to get us running and we took off for Springfield.. we didn't shut the engine off the rest of the way just incase we couldn't get it started again. And once we got to Springfield we put in an order for it to be fixed in the shop.. plus the APU wasnt working correctly.

As of right now I'm waiting for my trainers truck to be done in the shop. If it's done by 6pm we will be practicing my backing tonight. Otherwise I'll be practicing my backing for 4 hours tomorrow and testing for my CDL on Sunday.

My next post will be on Sunday! I'm going for that trifecta!!!!

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Paul's Comment
member avatar

Awesome! You can do this, Ed! I know what helped me pass all three skills tests was to be super calm the day of the test, not allow anybody to tell me anything good or bad, no advice, no instruction--just be laser-focused on being calm and collected. For me. May be different for you, but I know just watching people out there testing I saw it over and over again, nerves getting the better of them. They do great and then get nervous and begin overthinking and miss something simple. Once I got the nerves mastered it was the easiest thing in the world.

I also wrote down the backing maneuvers the night before. I don't know how you learned, but we had points of reference--i.e., turn hard left, reverse, look for landing gear, countersteer...etc. I wrote them down over and over until I knew them by heart.

Anyway, I'm sure you've got this covered. Man, good luck out there. :-)

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