Swift Edwardsville CDL School And My Journey Through OZ.

Topic 20577 | Page 4

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Greg H.'s Comment
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Although I totally agree, absolutely possible to shift a heavy truck by NOT using the clutch (called "floating").

Ask Brett...

No, sorry for the misunderstanding. This was meant for the 4 wheeler. You can almost change gears without using the clutch. Of course, it would take a lot of concentration to do it because the gears are spinning so fast. And I wasn't to privy on grinding the gears in my new Toyota 4 wheel drive truck when I tried to do it. And I'm sort of surprised that noone else has figured out though that you don't actually have to press the clutch all the way to the floor to change gears in a 4 wheeler. This rule may apply in some 4 wheelers, but none that I've ever driven. I was already use to not pushing the clutch pedal to the floor. Except of course when starting at a complete stop.

And my comment about asking Brett had to do with another thread where there was a discussion about floating gears and Brett had mention trying it in a 4 wheeler. It can be done, but you'd really only want to try that one time, before ruining your gears.

I still disagree... if it helped me, it had to help someone else. I think one of the main issues would be pushing the clutch all the way to the floor, which I have never done driving a stick shift.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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The head instructor who has been doing my road time training. He teaches the double clutching but he uses floating as an example of prime shift points. I did some low gear floating practice on the range, it's quite impressive. It's not something I plan on using until after I'm out of the academy. Using the knowledge of that definitely helps with smoother shifting.

Moving on.......

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.

Double Clutching:

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.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Although I totally agree, absolutely possible to shift a heavy truck by NOT using the clutch (called "floating").

Ask Brett...

double-quotes-end.png

No, sorry for the misunderstanding. This was meant for the 4 wheeler. You can almost change gears without using the clutch. Of course, it would take a lot of concentration to do it because the gears are spinning so fast. And I wasn't to privy on grinding the gears in my new Toyota 4 wheel drive truck when I tried to do it. And I'm sort of surprised that noone else has figured out though that you don't actually have to press the clutch all the way to the floor to change gears in a 4 wheeler. This rule may apply in some 4 wheelers, but none that I've ever driven. I was already use to not pushing the clutch pedal to the floor. Except of course when starting at a complete stop.

And my comment about asking Brett had to do with another thread where there was a discussion about floating gears and Brett had mention trying it in a 4 wheeler. It can be done, but you'd really only want to try that one time, before ruining your gears.

I still disagree... if it helped me, it had to help someone else. I think one of the main issues would be pushing the clutch all the way to the floor, which I have never done driving a stick shift.

It's not commonly taught to only need to push down partially on a clutch in a 4 wheeler. I've only owned one manual back around shortly after I learned to drive a manual. All other I've driven were loaners. Not all 4 wheeler transmissions were made equal. I've driven some where contact point is barely off the floor. I'm pretty sure a partial press would still be on the floor. With the syncro-mesh there is no need to go and make things more complicated. It's why it was created, so it could make things less complicated.

Once again.....moving on.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

Day 11

What can I say about day 11.

Pretty routine-ish. Started out with log-books (not sure if I mentioned this, log books are daily requirement), then pre-trip, then practice maneuvers. Eventually I got to go out on the road again and was taken down this road full of hills, twist and turns, and a road that ends at the white lines on either side of the two lane road. It was nerve racking but I made it. The other guy on road training also got to experience it as well. Was nice to see it from somewhere other than the hot seat. Got a couple more hours of road time today. We then made our way back and then went back to practicing.

The new new peeps, did their straight line then got pre-trip instructed. The other guys worked on maneuvers all day.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

Day 12

Sad news today. Just found out that it's not going to happen this week. Turns out that I can't get an appointment at the DMV until next week. So next Tuesday here I come.

Got in a bunch of road time today. The other guy could use it more than me and I ended up with most if the drive time. I've already got the 10 hours needed for Swift for them to do my road eval. Hit it the requirement last Friday. The other guy doesn't have enough yet, so he'll be doing most of the driving tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I'll be doing my last evals for Swift Academy tomorrow, my road eval and my pre-trip. Then it's just a waiting game until Tuesday. The instructor was hoping to get me in this week so I would be able to start orientation on Monday. If only the DMV would cooperate with my scheduling needs, haha.

The two week 2 guys finally had their maneuvers eval today and passed. Congrats to them. Though, the ****y and over confident guy failed his first attempt. I laughed quietly in the distance. They should be starting their road training soon.

Of the three new guys this week only two remain. It'll be the first drop/fail since I've been here (if you don't count the two that were supposed to be here when I started). He was an hour late on day one. Showed up right at 7 (that's when class starts) on day two. Just didn't show today. Apparently he complained a LOT. Apparently he interrupted a LOT when he was getting the demo for pre-trip and asking questions of stuff the instructor hadn't gotten to yet. Then while they were working on log books and after they had done all the trip planning with paper maps he made a comment about Swift being in the stone age. He was quickly put in his place about why he needed to know it but it was just another strike against him. Today, he just didn't show. Those who had worked with him a bit say that they didn't think he was coming back anyway.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 13

Bit of a change up today, the head instructor wasn't going to make it in today and the other was running behind. Security informed us of the delay and let us in the classroom and said the instructor wants us to start on pre-trip. At 7, we made our way out (as a group of responsible adults should) and started on pre-trip.

Much to everyone's surprise, no call no show, actually showed up today and early I might add. When the instructor arrived she initially sent him packing since he's not supposed to miss a day and no call no showed yesterday. Apparently he called the head instructor and had a decent enough excuse they let him return.

I on the other hand, while everyone was doing pre-trips was taken out and given my road eval. Passed it with flying colors (not sure colors can ACTUALLY fly). When we returned I was given an eval on pre-tripping. Passed it with floating colors (not sure they float either it just sounds more plausable than flying colors. After which I have been released until I need to be back up Sunday for class on Monday. I've completed all the academy stuffs and evals, now just need to wait for DMV test on Tuesday. Monday will be refresher day before DMV.

For now I'm off to enjoy my weekend.

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.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

Having issues trying to update profile. Been trying to figure out where to edit. Wanting to update status to show I'm in school and eventually update main image to something a little more unique.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully finish my Bed Bug thread since I'll have the morning and afternoon to myself since wife will be at work and kids at school.

Admittedly I'm a little torn. Since DMV testing is next Tuesday, I won't be able to start orientation until the following Monday. On one hand it'll give several days to spend with the fam before I'm gone for a while, on the other hand I'll have to wait another week before I'll get to hit the road (of which I'm super excited even though I'm not so excited about sharing a broom closet for a room with someone) and start making some money. My bank account says insist that I need to start bringing in some paper that helps increase that magic number that has been dwindling.

Maybe even get to meet some of the peeps out there.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

Day 15

New week, new students. Out of an expected 3 students only 2 showed up. One is an over confident ex-trucker who "quit the life" and is now coming back to get his license again. I don't know much about the other guy. As usual it's first day so they spend the day on paperwork, trip planning, and HOS.

Idiot from last week left again. Something about not wanting to sign the contracts. I also helped a second week student who was having trouble with her parallel be able to start nailing it. Her last one of the day she nailed with zero pull ups and zero assistance. I walked her through the steps right after last break. So I'm proud of that.

Week 3 guys started out on their shifting last Friday (which would put them at the end of their second week when they did).

Today was kind of a slow day. Shortage of instructors kind of limited what we could manage for the day. The practice maneuvers I did today eased my nerves a bit about tomorrow's DMV run. I just need to take it easy and make sure not to rush it and I think I'll be fine. Here's to tomorrow and hopefully a finish to all of this. I've officially graduated the academy, now to pass the DMV exam and make it all official and move on to the next step.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 16

Today was simple. Main goal of today is to go to DMV and pass their stuff.

Just as any other day, catch up logs and head out and pre-trip the trucks. Only real difference was there was 4 of us sent to pre-trip one truck since 4 of us were leaving on said truck shortly. This truck had to be road worthy and ready to be used for DMV skills test. As soon as the instructor was ready to take us out, we left. Of the 4 of us, only 2 were testing. The other 2 were being taken out for some road time. So we got cheaufferred to and from the DMV with some minor detours. It was these guys second time out on the road and only their first time out on ACTUAL main roads with traffic and traffic lights. Before was first day shifting and just getting used to it. That was done last Friday. Today got a little choppy but we all survived, which was one of their goals, not kill us and get us there in one piece (mostly).

We arrived at the DMV to begin our first journey into the trucking industry of hurry up and wait. Haha. They were finishing up with another guy. Once they got him set up to start his skills stuff, it was then my turn. Paperwork, fees, blah blah blah. Then out to the truck we went. I put my things in the truck while he did his thing.

When he was ready he then explained what exactly we were doing and that for the pre-trip we won't be doing the whole truck. My extra part that was given was windshield to the back of the tractor. Then the usual, coupling, in cab, and air brakes test/check/whatever it's called. I am properly mounted......well, you get the point. I passed the pre-trip and now on to maneuvers.

We climbed up in the truck. Of course after he had said to relax, don't worry, take it easy, at this moment said "if you stall and kill the engine or hit a curb it's an automatic failure". I of course knew this already but now it's burrowing into my nerves making me more nervous. We then move around to the maneuvers part of their lot and he guides me to where he wants me and then explains what I need to do. Shortened version, straight line backing (everyone will do this), then he had me do off-set from right side to left side. Next was blind side parallel. Each time he has you secure the truck and get out as he explains your next maneuver. This is the part to listen carefully to. He then asks if you have any questions. This is the part to ask any questions you may have. If you missed an instruction or didn't understand exactly what he wanted, whatever the question may be. No worries here, once explained I knew exactly what I needed to do, where my boundaries were, how many get outs and looks, and how many pull-ups I had for each maneuver. I passed the maneuvers with 0 points. Just to brag a little (mostly at how well the head instructor explains things) I did the blind side parallel so well that he asked if I had someone do that for me. Haha. Next, road course.

Yet again the reminder, stall the truck or hit a curb it's an auto fail. Yet again, I knew this but hearing it from the examiner only helped add to the nerves. Drove the course, did an emergency stop and he asked some knowledge questions about it. He also asked for explanation of doing a non-hazmat railroad crossing. I answered. That part was easy since railroads GRT drilled into your head for school busses. So basically adjust the info to not stopping and I'm good. I passed.

End result, somehow I managed to trick the state of Kansas into giving me a class A CDL.

At this point it was a waiting game to see if the other guy passed. Which he did. Then we were cheaufferred back by first time drivers. When we returned the two of us got processed out and away we went. We both start orientation at the Edwardsville terminal on Monday.

Yay me!

To be continued.....

Next Monday as I begin my journey through orientation and mentor training. How exciting. For now, some home time.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations! Great diary...really good. Enjoy the break.

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