C1 Driving Academy - Indianapolis, IN... Adventures With Swift

Topic 20696 | Page 5

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G-Town's Comment
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Daniel wrote:

I got to do 4 backings today, and feel like I am getting a really good grasp of steering the trailer. My mentor likes to make me bump the hardest of the available docks. He will often pull back out, and make me do it a few times, with different set ups. I have nicknamed him "Sadist Sammy." He will carry that name proudly, haha.

This is awesome. You will thank him for this later...especially if you commit to Walmart Dedicated once you upgrade to solo.

I wish every mentor/trainer was this professional. Their job and responsibility is to prepare you for solo operation, your mentor is clearly doing that. I really like how he is handling you, pushing you to the limits of your comfort zone and teaching you how-to effectively set-up. Money.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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10/21/2017

Training Day 14? - Location - Johnstown DC

Back for a small break before our next load is ready. In the last 4 days, we turned 3500 miles, all 4 days had our final delivery in Erie, PA. All 4 days, had different routes to get to Erie, depending on where the previous stop was. From roads a truck doesn't belong on, in my very rookie opinion, to an Interstate with Bear Crossing signs every few miles. Unfortunately 90% of my drive time is at night, which gives me the most backing opportunities. My mentor usually finishes the final drop, and/or drives us back to the DC. The last two nights, I got to drive under a sky full of falling stars. It was very beautiful. Meanwhile I am white knuckle steering on some of these roads, while other trucks are flying past meanwhile, mentor is either crazy, or he has a confidence in my driving that I have yet to find. I mean, when I look at the curve up ahead, and nothing but black abyss a few feet from the shoulder, and the speed limit sign says 55mph, and a truck passes me going at least 45, and all I can visualize is him, or myself disappearing over the edge, sheesh. I might be a little touched in the head too, because I love it!

We are required to do a minimum of 40 backs before we upgrade, with approximately 2 more weeks to go, I have 29 documented backs.

I was told that I am the best student he has had in over a year. My biggest issue is, my eyes becoming fatigued while driving at night. The highway markers, lights etc, start dancing. The last couple nights, I pulled off at the nearest text stop, or weigh station, and closed my eyes for 10 minutes, or so. This seems to work, but aside from doing that, I don't want to use any energy type drinks, etc. My mentor told me to stop as often as necessary, but to only set the trailer brakes, so it keeps me on the drive line. (is this legal?) he feels I am ready to upgrade already, so this is his way of padding my 200 drive hour requirement. I don't want to cheat myself out of any future potential valuable lessons, with someone who can show me a better way of doing that something.

One thing I am looking forward to, is sleeping in a stationary truck! Could I team? Yes, I have no real issue with it. Do I want to? #*#*#%# No! I haven't had a solid "night's" sleep in a week! A half hour to an hour, interrupted by various road conditions, etc, does not a happy me, make. I know I could adapt, but I just don't want to.

Stay safe

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

G-Town's Comment
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Daniel...if your mentor is who I think he is, that is a very huge compliment. He is one of the very best and has trained many, many drivers. If he said that, he meant it.

Well done! Safe travels!

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel...if your mentor is who I think he is, that is a very huge compliment. He is one of the very best and has trained many, many drivers. If he said that, he meant it.

Well done! Safe travels!

If you are thinking about the Diamond Driver/Mentor, I met him, but he is not mine. My mentor is younger, and has been with Swift for 4 years, mentoring for 2.5. He took a small hiatus, to take care of some family matters, and then came back 6 months ago, and started mentoring again.

Jim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Daniel,

I'm sitting here reading your diary and I'm actually getting a rush from it all. I start Swift academy in Jan, in Lewiston Idaho. Love your positive attitude and humble approach in dealing with some of the negative trails that are thrown your way. I can't imagine driving in NY. I did lots of work for IBM out there in Fishkill and noticed the narrow roads back then. Anyway congrats on the new life. Any insight you have for me in going to Swift would be much appreciated. One thing I have been concerned about is all the different pre trip routines. Is there any certain one I should be studying? I am cramming the High Road training for the next few months and hopefully that's going to give me a leg up. My biggest fear in all this is the mentor time. It's got to be incredibly intense. Sounds like you lucked out big time. Unlike Blue Zombies tragic mentor training. I've also been picking Blue Zombie's brain for newbie info. By the way anyone else that comes across this feel free to chime in with any advice for me.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Daniel,

I'm sitting here reading your diary and I'm actually getting a rush from it all. I start Swift academy in Jan, in Lewiston Idaho. Love your positive attitude and humble approach in dealing with some of the negative trails that are thrown your way. I can't imagine driving in NY. I did lots of work for IBM out there in Fishkill and noticed the narrow roads back then. Anyway congrats on the new life. Any insight you have for me in going to Swift would be much appreciated. One thing I have been concerned about is all the different pre trip routines. Is there any certain one I should be studying? I am cramming the High Road training for the next few months and hopefully that's going to give me a leg up. My biggest fear in all this is the mentor time. It's got to be incredibly intense. Sounds like you lucked out big time. Unlike Blue Zombies tragic mentor training. I've also been picking Blue Zombie's brain for newbie info. By the way anyone else that comes across this feel free to chime in with any advice for me.

Hey Jim,

Welcome to TT!

As far as the pre trip goes, learn EVERYTHING! However, Lewiston Academy might use different verbage than ones you have already studied. I can say this, though, doing it now, vs learning it for the State test is Sooo much easier. Being in a 2018 Cascadia that is barely 6000 miles old has it's advantages, not much usually goes wrong, but it can, so always be vigilant. The International we were in for a little bit, fell apart around us, as we drove. The smallest Bend on the steering linkage made for one helluva ride. It just a casual look, you would not notice. I am more thorough about everything now. That was just one issue among many for that poor truck.

As to NYC, thankfully we only see the Bronx, and Long Island, and that is its own animal. I haven't driven it yet, but just being a passenger makes me hope to heaven I never get that route during my drive time. ( I probably just jinxed myself)

I got really lucky, with this mentor, and this route. I get along great with my mentor, and I have only tried to kill him twice. The first time, was on my very first day out with him. I have finally digested the experience, and have LEARNED exactly what happened, and what could have happened. We were routed off of I 77, through a few smaller towns, on a State Route, and I 64. One of the interchanges that put us back on I 77 was a tricky, and very busy one. While I was downshifting to navigate the first part, I forgot to put the selector switch into low setting. I switched from 4th into 7th, and that is when the yucky stuff hit the fan. I panicked, and stalled the truck, on the other side of the curve, making it a very blind situation for traffic behind us, flying by at 50+ mph. Instead of letting the truck roll, finding the gear, starting it up, and moving on, the panic was in high gear, and I came to a complete stop. I hit the 4 way flashers, put the truck in Low gear, started it up and got it moving back up to speed. The whole ordeal took less than 2 minutes, but it felt like forever. My mentor was very methodical in his directions, cutting through my panicked mind. On the CB, we heard other drivers yelling at us, and some offering help, and then other ones laughing at us.

The second time, I backed under a trailer a little too hard, and his clip board case came off the top shelf and hit him in the head. He keeps it on the floor now.

Last night, I turned my first full round trip of 470 miles, with 3 stops. I am in the sleeper, while he turns a 515 mile round trip. If someone would have told me, I would go from a potential traffic statistic, to navigating some of these roads, I never would have believed them. We learn a lot in a very short time, while learning to live on the road. It is very intense. But also very rewarding. The feeling of accomplishment is personal, and tangible.

For now, just absorb everything that you learn on this website. It has honestly been a huge contributing factor in my experiences, thus far.

Good luck in your new adventure!

Stay safe

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Jim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Daniel, I've been trying to get some budgeting done for when I go to training. I'll be covered during the 3 weeks because i'll take vacation from my current job, buuuuuut I can't get a straight answer from my recruiter on the average I can expect per week with my mentor. Any ideas? looks like you New Yorker's get "hazard pay" for driving out theresmile.gif

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Daniel, I've been trying to get some budgeting done for when I go to training. I'll be covered during the 3 weeks because i'll take vacation from my current job, buuuuuut I can't get a straight answer from my recruiter on the average I can expect per week with my mentor. Any ideas? looks like you New Yorker's get "hazard pay" for driving out theresmile.gif

I was blessed to receive $125 in a visa gift card and a Subway gift card, from my previous employer, but so far, I have spent about $250 on top of that. Walmart is always available on this route, lol. But between that, truck stop coffee, and one really good TA, buffet (iron skillet) I spend more, for diabetic friendly healthy foods. If you budget about $125/week you won't go hungry. I bough a giant instant coffee container today, and that will save me some cash, too. Buy for multiple meals, vs single meals. And pray that your mentor has room for your food, too. Otherwise it may get uncomfortably crowded.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Daniel...if your mentor is who I think he is, that is a very huge compliment. He is one of the very best and has trained many, many drivers. If he said that, he meant it.

Well done! Safe travels!

double-quotes-end.png

If you are thinking about the Diamond Driver/Mentor, I met him, but he is not mine. My mentor is younger, and has been with Swift for 4 years, mentoring for 2.5. He took a small hiatus, to take care of some family matters, and then came back 6 months ago, and started mentoring again.

I was...regardless sounds like you have a good teacher.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

Daniel...if your mentor is who I think he is, that is a very huge compliment. He is one of the very best and has trained many, many drivers. If he said that, he meant it.

Well done! Safe travels!

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

If you are thinking about the Diamond Driver/Mentor, I met him, but he is not mine. My mentor is younger, and has been with Swift for 4 years, mentoring for 2.5. He took a small hiatus, to take care of some family matters, and then came back 6 months ago, and started mentoring again.

double-quotes-end.png

I was...regardless sounds like you have a good teacher.

He is awesome. He mentored my mentor, mentoring me. So in a way, I am being mentored by him indirectly. Every time we are at the DC and see him, we are sitting and learning from him.

Although, I had to ask him, that while his student is driving, isn't it false advertising? His answer... "I asked for a magnet, but they said no!"

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