What Does Your School Instructor Expect On Your First Time Behind The Wheel?

Topic 21239 | Page 1

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RealDiehl's Comment
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I was behind the wheel driving last night for the first time. I watched a couple other students take their turns before me. They were thoroughly critiqued and constantly corrected by the instructor. I figured I'd learn a little from watching them, so that maybe it would be a little easier for me. Nope! I couldn't do anything right, even when it felt like I was doing things right.

When we came upon our first red light, he sternly told me to get off the gas and slow it down. "Alright", I thought, "slow way down when approaching red lights."

The next light came into view and I got off the gas immediately, and approached the light at what I thought was the proper speed. Nope! The instructor said, "come on man, get it up there (meaning, I was going too slow)"

The same thing happened when I was making turns. Sometimes he'd tell my to keep it out wide, and other times, when I kept it wide, he'd ask what the heck I was doing.

What I want to know is how should the student behave. I just nodded my head and did what I was told, even though I really wanted to ask about, what appeared to me to be, some inconsistencies.

It actually reminds me of when my father was teaching me to drive a car. He was impossible to please, and I often felt that not getting my license would be worth not having to drive with him anymore. LOL!

So...any advice on how to approach my next road session would be appreciated.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Never take your focus off the driving. Never. You did the right thing! Wait, save the questions for when you are no longer driving. Make a point to follow up every drive with a discussion.

Every instructor is different, different styles, and also different levels of experience.

The first time driving is always the worst...each time you go back out, you'll be half as bad as you were during your previous drive. Eventually and I am not being funny, you'll achieve the lofty status of "not bad". You'll know when this happens because of how quiet your instructor is. Captain Crickets.

Good luck...you'll be fine!

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

Their greatest hope the first time you drive is that you do not kill them.

Seriously, your experience is not unusually at all. When we're new, we often tend to over-correct nearly everything.

Best wishes for your new career.

I was behind the wheel driving last night for the first time. I watched a couple other students take their turns before me. They were thoroughly critiqued and constantly corrected by the instructor. I figured I'd learn a little from watching them, so that maybe it would be a little easier for me. Nope! I couldn't do anything right, even when it felt like I was doing things right.

When we came upon our first red light, he sternly told me to get off the gas and slow it down. "Alright", I thought, "slow way down when approaching red lights."

The next light came into view and I got off the gas immediately, and approached the light at what I thought was the proper speed. Nope! The instructor said, "come on man, get it up there (meaning, I was going too slow)"

The same thing happened when I was making turns. Sometimes he'd tell my to keep it out wide, and other times, when I kept it wide, he'd ask what the heck I was doing.

What I want to know is how should the student behave. I just nodded my head and did what I was told, even though I really wanted to ask about, what appeared to me to be, some inconsistencies.

It actually reminds me of when my father was teaching me to drive a car. He was impossible to please, and I often felt that not getting my license would be worth not having to drive with him anymore. LOL!

So...any advice on how to approach my next road session would be appreciated.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Don't take this the wrong way, but his points probably seemed like inconsistencies to you because of your lack of experience. Some instructors just don't give alot of compliments and are downright critical. I had an instructor like that in driving school and I also had a piano teacher like that long ago. As frustrating as it may be to drive with him, just put your head down and do your best. Try to glean everything you can from him. These instructors are often some of the best as they expect excellence from their students.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

RealDiehl, every driving instructor will have their own way to teach you. But these people have been vetted and taught by the company in what new drivers need to be able to do.

As mentioned, they all do it differently, and each students will react differently.

I agree with all the advice giver here. Mainly, #1, do your best to learn how driving that beast works. #2, work to make your instructor proud of you. #3, don't hold that steering wheel so tight. Relax just a little bit.

Rob's Comment
member avatar

The last part about excellence I couldn't agree with more. The instructor I had was a great teacher, and took pride in our success. Last year he had a 1st time pass rate of about 90%. That was highest at their school which included like 7(?) locations. He was such a good teacher that we were referred to as "rays robots" at the DMV. He was also really anal about having your tractor and trailer perfectly straight in the box during our skills test. As far as you talking about inconsistencies regarding the lights.....you said u started slowing down as soon as you seen red but didn't say how far ahead that was (couple blocks or couple miles) There is a thing of being too far and impeding traffic. DMV here would give us points if we were going doing 10 or less under speed limit unless traffic warranted it. I know I was so nervous and unsure about downshifting that I slowed down way too early and got yelled at to speed it up. In school I had a near perfect drive I thought, but instead of praising me like crazy he focused on the thing I didn't do. Definitely help keep me from getting too big of a head, and strive for be perfect

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

Tom W.'s Comment
member avatar

Just depends on your instructor. I remember when training one of the students messed up so bad driving that the drive shaft fell off. There was not any yelling or screaming. The instructor just picked it up off the ground and got the student into another truck.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, you all, for the helpful advice and nuggets of wisdom. I'm often grateful for this forum and its contributors. There is nothing else like it.

Their greatest hope the first time you drive is that you do not kill them.

Mission accomplished! Maybe next time I won't cause him to almost spill his coffee by slamming the brakes too hard. Those things are touchy!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

They sure are touchy, especially at low speed and especially with a light load - your trailer was probably either empty or only had a small amount of weight in it...that would be normal for a school truck/trailer.

I'm responding to you on this point because I want to encourage you not to worry about someone's coffee, or anything else that might spill, less that cause you to develop a habit of trying to stop smoothly at all cost. I had to work on this when I first starting driving a semi because I came from the limousine business, where the (unachievable) goal was to keep the passengers from knowing whether we were stopped or rolling.

There will be plenty of times when you'll need to stab that brake pedal hard and fast. Sometimes that will be necessary at low speed - I'm thinking parking lots, primarily, but also perhaps intersections and so forth. You simply cannot be concerned with what you spill. Whatever spills can be dealth with later. First, we have to make sure that we don't hit anything.

I cannot begin to count the number of times that I've checked every direction, then started rolling, only to have some knucklehead decide to dash in front of me out of no where or another vehicle decide that they're going to pull in front of me. Often, other truck drivers do this at the fuel island. We must always be prepared to hit that brake pedal, regardless of the consequences. If an instructor catches you hesitating in braking in order to save their coffee, or salad, or whatever else they're holding, they should chastise you for worrying about their food/drink. I very good instructor did that for me.

Thanks, you all, for the helpful advice and nuggets of wisdom. I'm often grateful for this forum and its contributors. There is nothing else like it.

double-quotes-start.png

Their greatest hope the first time you drive is that you do not kill them.

double-quotes-end.png

Mission accomplished! Maybe next time I won't cause him to almost spill his coffee by slamming the brakes too hard. Those things are touchy!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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