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DevJohnson's Comment
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Hey guys! So I'm obviously new to this whole trucking thing due to the trucking status on my profile. And I'm sure there are a ton of forums on here in regards to advice to students drivers and everything to prepare for after school and such. But I just wanted to type out my own and give people the chance (rookie and veteran drivers) to share their own words, tips, knowledge) and who maybe don't comment much or if you do and feel like repeating yourself then that that's fine more the merrier! Basically want to know what you feel or felt was your most challenging part of becoming a truck driver.. whether it be school, family, salary, traveling, training, etc. I know nothing but what Iv learned in the past month from YouTube videos, forums, and things Iv read from my CDL Manuel (went out and got my class A permit to jump the gun on school). So what ever advice you have for me whatsoever feel free to comment because it'll help me out so much. Thank you guys!

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.
Old School's Comment
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Read This Article. The intense solitude almost always gets to you at times.

Unholychaos's Comment
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Read This Article. The intense solitude almost always gets to you at times.

Unless you enjoy the solitude like myself.

One thing that everyone on here will agree with is that you get out of it what you put into it. You are in control of your own future in this business and, if you do it right from day 1, you can easily make a good living no matter who you end up driving for. But just remember, baby steps at a time. CDL school will be frustrating and draining at times, it certainly was for me (I had a panic attack the first day driving just around a block a few times). Keep reminding yourself that you can do this, keep your eyes on the prize!

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.
DevJohnson's Comment
member avatar

@Old School Yea that's one of the big things I feel I'll have to get used to although I already don't speak or hang out with a lot of people already. Hometime will be nice also.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Well, DevJohnson, don't forget to just read through this forum, and Training Diaries to see how others did.

The solitude Old School mentions will become important, whether you prefer being alone or hate the lonliness. It's just part of this job.

My main heads-up for new people is the patience and dedication required to learn trailer backing. Brett wrote a blog post about how silly it looks to a seasoned driver.

You may have watched some YouTube videos about backing. With tips that use a roll of duct tape, or watching for the landing gear in a mirror, it all really comes down to your eyes and hands. Follow how your instructors tell you, and don't dwell on the frustration.

Welcome to the club!

DevJohnson's Comment
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@Unholychaos How long did it take you to get the hang of backing up, double clutching , etc. Did they teach you enough in school in regards to pre trip inspections and drivers test? I'm going to sage which I hear is a great driving school here in town and then thinking Schneider for my first gig

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.

Rob's Comment
member avatar

For me the biggest challenge is keeping your composure in stressful situations. When I was in school it took me a couple days to understand straight line backing. I went into school asking myself how can it be so difficult, just back up straight! After I got straight line backing down I was able to move onto parallel, and driver offset (as those 3 are what Iowa requires for skills exam). After my instructor gave me my "mark", which was center of 2nd piece of DOT tape, on the trailer visible from my mirror I was able to nail my skills perfectly everytime. I guess over confidence and/or getting too big of a head really got to me and I couldn't do either to save my life....conveniently for the 2 days leading up to my state CDL exam. Test day came and I did straight line and offset perfect, however parallel was....interesting. I messed it up so badly I ended up getting 8 points by using pullups (allowed 2 free pull-ups and 2 free G.O.A.L. then each additional is 2 points, get 12 points you fail.). I pulled the truck out to original starting position, took a deep breath, and pretended to be back at the school practicing, and wouldn't ya know it I got it in! In my current position I'm constantly needing to back into narrow alleyways, as well as parking lots that didn't have trucks in mind. As a result im often times blocking traffic and have drivers giving me a 1 finger salute, and no its not a thumbs up, and also laying on their horns. I've always been one to hate being in the way, however if I waited the traffic out I wouldn't get anything done! The route I'm on has me downtown a bit and alot of stress. If I allow that stress to get the best of me ill likely end up hitting something. Biggest advice ill give ya is listen to what your instructor tells you, and do as your told. MOST instructors are good at their jobs at teaching you to pass your state exam to obtain your CDL. Also, do not think that just because you passed your CDL test that you know everything, and don't need more training. I just completed week 6 of 12 of training and still have to rely on my trainer for help. Its gotten to be much less, but I'm very thankful he's there when I need it.

Just out of curiosity, have you thought about who you want to drive for, or what freight? (dry van, reefer , flatbed)

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

@Unholychaos How long did it take you to get the hang of backing up, double clutching , etc. Did they teach you enough in school in regards to pre trip inspections and drivers test? I'm going to sage which I hear is a great driving school here in town and then thinking Schneider for my first gig

There isn't a whole lot schools can do to help you with pretrip, as its mainly just memorizing. One of the moderators on here, Daniel B. Used to be a trainer for Prime and created a study guide to help. Your school and state may want you to use different wording, or check different items but its worth it to get a head start.

As far as double clutching I've never driven a Manuel transmission and was very nervous about it. I killed the truck more times than id like to admit, and pushed the clutch in too far, many times. You'll do ok. Examiners aren't expecting you to be perfect, you just need to demonstrate that you're capable of safely handling that vehicle. You will continue to learn well after you have the CDL license. I talked to my state examiner a few minutes after my test and she told me as long as you demonstrate you know what your doing......and don't stall the truck, hit a curb, or coast (be out of gear/in neutral) for more than the length of your vehicle, break the law such as going through a red light, following too closely, speeding, or be involved in an accident you will most likely pass

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.

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.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

DevJohnson's Comment
member avatar

Rob thank you so much for the help brotha. I'm gonna go over those guidelines because even though I won't start school for a couple of months like you said it's good to get a head start. I don't wanna go in ****y at all because I know jack right now when it comes down to it but I'm working on it. As far as what I'm wanting to haul I'm not too sure, is there too much of a difference? Of course dry van and reefer are different from flat bed I'm assuming. Also Iv been looking into Schneider as I heard they're a good company to start out with. Any recommendations?? I'm here on the west coast maybe wanting to do regional just because I don't know if I'll feel comfortable taking on the east coast from the get.. and I'm wanting to be close to home when I get my hometime

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Dev, if you're OTR and request time off at home, you'll get routed back to your home OC/terminal. If you do want to take your time off at another terminal , that too can be arranged. Re: avoiding the East Coast, you'd be depriving yourself of one of God's natural wonders, and that is seeing the leaves changing in Autumn, especially in The Appalachians.

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.

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.

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