The MTC Experience

Topic 21160 | Page 1

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RealDiehl's Comment
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The bus ride was a 30 hour nightmare. It had to be done though, and 30 minutes of discomfort is a small price to pay for getting something I want. Unfortunately, the bus ride wasn't the worst of it. After finally arriving at the hotel at 11:30, I was told they did not have a room for me. Really? If I was scheduled to arrive on a specific day, shouldn't a room have been reserved for me?

They shuttled me to another hotel. I was given a room for the night. Didn't get to sleep until 2:00am and had to be up at 6:00am for orientation.

I was up and ready to go early. While waiting in line I was bombarded with negativity from the students who had been here for a week or two, about how horrible everything is, and how we new guys should just turn around and go home. I mentally slapped them around and kept a positive attitude.

Orientation was full of the usual paperwork, dot physical, and drug test. We also had some homework we could start doing while waiting our turn for physicals and drug tests.

At 4:00 I jumped back on the shuttle (which dropped us at Walmart for an hour) and headed for my room. Too bad my key did not work. I told the person working the front desk I was locked out, and she told me I was moving in with someone. So I grabbed my things and went to meet my roommate. Turns out it was a guy I had been talking with at orientation. That helped break the ice.

It kind of stinks we're off Saturdays instead of Sundays. Luckily the Eagles play Sunday night next week!

The second day (today/Monday) at MTC began at 5:30am. We immediately began going over last night's homework, which was basically review questions about the general knowledge, air brake, and combination vehicles sections of the permit test.

And it's a good thing we spent the whole day going over this stuff bc tomorrow we take our permit tests. Yup, things move pretty fast. Our instructor is great. He reminds me of a drill sergeant, and he's about as strict as one if you do anything to disrupt his class.

Got back to the hotel around 5:30 today. It's about 6:30 now and I'm planning on doing some studying for tomorrow's test. Honestly, it shouldn't be a problem as I've been walking "The High Road" for the past month.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
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I forgot to mention...we also did some basic agility tests today. Opening the engine compartment, climbing into the cab and trailer. We did this in groups and while the different groups were out our instructor had us studying and doing practice tests. He said he had a great app he recommended for us. Turns out it was "the High Road" shocked.png

RealDiehl's Comment
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Tues. 11/14

Today began with physical capability test for US Express students. The test for over the road drivers was different than the test for dedicated drivers. OTR drivers had to lift a crate filled with 50 pounds of weight onto a shelf 5 feet high. Then place the weight on a shelf 3 feet high directly below it. We next had to carry the weight (I think it was) 53 feet and place it on a floor-level shelf. After that we had to climb onto a platform meant to simulate the back of a trailer. We then had to squat and walk under the platform, stay there for 5 seconds, and scuttle out backwards. Finally, we had to push against a device, held against the wall, with 50 pounds of force, then pull on it with 100 pounds of force.

Next we went to take our permit tests. The way it works here is you have until Thursday (3 days) to pass the required tests. You can take the test twice each day, for a total of 6 attempts. After that you're dismissed. Luckily I got them all out of the way on my first try, plus tanker and doubles/triples. Even scored perfect on 2 of the five tests I took!

All you need to do to pass with confidence is do the High Road program at whatever pace you feel like. Start practicing early and it doesn't even feel like studying.

What you don't want to do is wait until the last minute to study. Case in point, my roommate. He's a great guy but he hasn't studied AT ALL. He told me he was going to take a nap on Sunday after class and to wake him up at 8 so he could study. I tried to wake him and he said he was just going to keep sleeping. Same thing last night. He didn't even attempt the tests today.

Also, when you are in the classroom, just follow the rules and pay attention. If your instructor says, "If anybody needs to use the bathroom do it now."... go use the bathroom, and if you don't, do not raise your hand 10 minutes later and ask to use the bathroom. If you have legitimate questions, ask them.

Homework tonight is writing out the entire pretrip word for word 3 times. It's not due until Friday but, I'll start tonight...

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
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Wed 11/15

Today was pretty boring really. The folks who still needed to pass their permit tests went out to take them. The rest of us were given busy-work to do while they were gone...ALL DAY. I must admit, I found it extremely difficult to stay awake.

During the last hour we were led outside to take turns climbing in and out of the truck, 10 times each. Tomorrow we will get to do some backing.

I was talking to the instructor and mentioned that I was a little nervous about driving the truck (I'm not really-in fact I can't wait to jump in there). But, we were told that students who need more help will get more attention than ones who act over-confident. The instructor talked to me for a few minutes and explained some of the things a new driver should know about driving a truck. Now the instructor knows who I am and, I'm hoping, will pay a little more attention to me. I feel a little guilty about lying but, I'm here to learn as much as I can, anyway I can.

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.
RealDiehl's Comment
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Thurs 11/16

Earlier in the week I had to have a lab result faxed to the school's doctor before he issued me my dot medical card. So while I passed my written test, I was unable to get the permit.

My DOT card came yesterday and I had to go to a Licensing Center this morning to get my permit. This was not good because we began backing maneuvers today. Unfortunately, I was away from school all morning getting my permit. There is no such thing here as making a quick trip somewhere and back. You have to take shuttles, and the school is not going to transport anything less than several students at a time. Basically, you're out until the last person in the group is ready to return.

When I finally got back, I had missed a whole morning's worth of practice. I only ended up getting in two straight backs today. So tomorrow, when the students who made decent progress today get to go on the road, I will be working on my backing skills. Since the curriculum is so fast-paced my biggest fear was falling behind...and now I have fallen behind half the students in my class.

I don't blame the school. It's just bad luck. I'm just going to have to try and catch up.

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Fri 11/17

Class today consisted of nothing but backing. I spent the first half of the day watching people do offsets because the truck my group was using for straight backs sprung an air leak. I finally asked to get with a different group so I could get some practice in. After 3 times I was able to do my straight backs without supervision.

Not the most productive day but, an improvement over yesterday. I'm still lagging behind half my class. I'm not as worried as I once was though.

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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good-luck-2.gif

Keep up the good work...it'll come together for ya!

IF you relax just a little; its even possible for it to be fun while learning well...

Cheers for the diary 👍😊

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Sat 11/18

Today we worked on logs and hours of service. I'm actually glad we weren't outside...it was cold, windy and raining all day. We were given a simulated trip to San Francisco from St. Louis with stops in Denver and Salt Lake City. All the stops and breaks are listed. We have to fill out the logs for every day of the trip. That's our homework.

We were also split into days or nights for the rest of our schooling. I'll be on nights starting tomorrow (4 - 2am). No Eagles game wtf.gif

Keep up the good work...it'll come together for ya!

IF you relax just a little; its even possible for it to be fun while learning well...

Cheers for the diary

Thanks for the encouragement! It's not all gloom and doom. I am enjoying the experience.

Half Pint's Comment
member avatar

I'm in the new group here at MTC. Your diary is a fair assessment. I love Mr. Gary. And yes, allot of students are negative here but I personally think that's just the nature of spoiled people.

Good luck, I hope you're a one and done.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
I love Mr. Gary

I like him too. He's the "drill instructor" I mentioned in an earlier post. Wait till you get Mr. Ed. That guy is a character. Don't let his act fool you, he doesn't miss a thing.

Good luck to you, half pint. I hope your accommodations are satisfactory. My roommate had to leave last night, so I'm solo now. I hope it lasts for a few days.

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