The MTC Experience

Topic 21160 | Page 2

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RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Wed 11/22

Well I got out on the road for the first time last night. I couldn't wait to drive. The excitement of being behind the wheel of such a massive machine had been building ever since I arrived at school. Taking those wide turns and watching the trailer follow around...I was itching with anticipation.

Reality check! The whole experience was altogether a huge disappointment. It felt like I couldn't do anything right. Every aspect of my driving was critiqued and found to be deficient in some way. It was like I was learning to drive all over again.

My speed, braking, turning, using mirrors; it was all picked apart, leaving me feeling as though I would never be good enough to drive a truck.

The thing is, according to some experienced and helpful drivers on this forum, that's pretty much the way it was supposed to be. I guess it's all part of the process...break down the fortress wherein one's old driving habits reside, and start laying the foundation for becoming a professional truck driver.

I admit, it was frustrating as heck. Although, upon reflection, and with a large dose of sagacious advice from the kind professionals here at Trucking Truth, I'm feeling a lot better about things.

Just follow directions and do exactly what you're told. Never mind the fact that you think you know how to turn and approach intersections correctly. All that means nothing when you're driving a truck.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Tues 11/28

We were off for Thanksgiving and the Friday after. Since then it's been pretty much the same thing everyday. We go in at 4. Take roll. Find out who our instructor for the day is (each instructor gets about 10 students and groups and instructors change everyday). Then we head out to the yard to work on pretrip for 45 min.

After that, things turn sour. Personally, I'm someone who avoids conflict. If I'm driving and someone cuts me off, I let it go. No yelling, no gestures, nothing. At a store, If someone jumps in front of me in line, I say nothing. It angers me but, I let it go. Now it occurs to me that I've been unwittingly practicing for CDL school my whole life. Because everyday you must deal with jerks who never learned the lesson of waiting their turn (guess they were absent that day from Kindergarten). They boldly and rudely jump in any available truck without asking who's next in line. I don't understand why each student in the group is not given a number by the instructor. When your number is up, you take your turn. Instead, it's a disorganized free-for-all. I don't blame the instructors. I blame a lack of respect and decency on the part of many of my fellow students.

So far I have averaged 2 backing maneuvers each day. That breaks down to being able to practice a maneuver once every 4.5 hours. Some of us stand outside for roughly 9 hours for very little to show for it.

Luckily (or maybe not so lucky) I have been able to perform well on my evaluations. Honestly, I've just been lucky. I have parallel parked a total of 5 times, offset 4 times, and alley dock 3 times. This is over the course of 6 days. I need to do a maneuver many times to really get a feel for it. Right now I'm just going through the motions with very little understanding of what I'm actually doing.

Hopefully I'll look back on this and laugh at myself for making a big deal about nothing.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Two backs per day is woefully inadequate. Not sure what you can do to get more.

I distinctly recall having multiple opportunities (3-4) per hour when I attended Swift's Richmond Academy. A turn included two passes, which was two separate attempts.

Half Pint's Comment
member avatar

I'm sorry you're dealing with this situation.

My experience has been completely different. I've gotten allot of practice and I have no problem getting time in the truck. At the same time I'm assertive and I'll let someone know that it's my turn.

Don't let someone else dictate your practice time. Also go talk to Mr. Joe. He is there to make sure you succeed and he wants to know if there is an issue.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

3-4 backs per hour would be wonderful, G. Halfway through the evening tonight and I have 3 so far. The students in the class ahead of us are testing today and tomorrow for their CDL. More opportunity for us!

You are right, half-pint. I am well aware of the fact that I should be more assertive. It's just totally against my nature. I'm glad you're getting your share of practice. Maybe you should switch to nights and advocate for me smile.gif

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.
RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Backing turns on the yard have been relatively plentiful the past 4 days. Unfortunately, I've been on the road for two of them. Still, I've been getting 7-8 maneuvers per night, which is a big improvement.

As things stand now I have a score of 93 on pretrip, 94 on backing, and (today) 98 on driving. They like you to have above 90 on each part before allowing you to take the state CDL test.

A couple people failed their state test this week because of the air brake test. One guy told the examiner he was done before even performing the air brake test. Another failed because he forgot to hold the brake pedal after applying 90lbs of pressure during the second step of the air brake test. They both knew their stuff, they just had a momentary lapse of thought and it cost them.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Sun. 12/10

The past week has been the same. Backing maneuvers for 10 hours a day and driving every third day. There have been ups and downs. I typically get down on myself whenever I mess up a maneuver. I could perform perfectly 5 times in a row but, that one screw up really gets me down. I know that's not a good thing. I can't help thinking to myself that any mistake is a mistake that I might make during my CDL exam.

For the most part though, I've been more successful than not. My test date is Tuesday morning at a place called Sikeston, MO. It's about 140 miles away. I don't want to go all the way there and fail.

Here's hoping for the best...

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I'm sure hoping you'll do fine on Tuesday.good-luck.gif

Rob's Comment
member avatar

Try to just think of it as your back in the schools yard just practicing your stuff. If you've made it to the point your instructor has set up a test you've demonstrated you're capable of passing. When you get to your road test just remember not to hit any curbs (or vehicles), DO NOT ROLL BACKWARDS, and do not coast. (stay out of gear longer than the length of your combination vehicle). You got this, just stay focused.

Combination Vehicle:

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

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

thank-you.gif

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