Profile For Garrett J.

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    2 months, 1 week ago

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Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Parallel parking maneuver issues

Garrett looks for an angle:

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What should I look for in my mirror to make the first 45 degree angle? Most instructors at school say to stop turning at a certain set of rivets on the trailer... but what if you cant see the rivets? What is the next best thing to look for?

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You can watch the DOT tape. On the truck I use my students count 3 tapes from the landing gear.

One thing that you should be able to see on any trailer: the "notch" in the frame at the back of the trailer apron. Whatever she you need, base it on the notch. This photo is the notch when the tractor is 90° to the trailer:

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Thanks Erroll, I'll be looking out for those two things from now on.

And there's that same dastardly panel that was blocking my view of the drive tires...

Next time at school I'll be aiming the drive wheels between the notch and 3rd set of tape and I'll see how that turns out.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

View Topic:

Parallel parking maneuver issues

Is the test taken at your school? Are you still in school, and if so, are the helping you with this if you ask for help? Also, did they give you resources like a paper or guides?

The test is taken through the school, yes. The owner does third-party testing through his other business. I'm still in the school although I'm running out of hours. Yes they help if I ask for help. No extra resources or guides for the maneuvers though. They just give an initial lesson then give you extra pointers if you need them. Problem is the students mostly practice in trucks that aren't the same as the trucks the test is taken in.

I just need to figure out a reliable method of getting that first angle in the particular kind of truck I'll be testing in since I cant see the rivets or drive tires and figure out how to correct and re-position without putting myself in a worse position if I don't initially get a good angle. That's essentially what happened during the test. Every time I tried to pull up and correct I just got myself into a worse position until eventually I got myself into a position that was impossible to correct without racking up too many points.

Its just so frustrating because parallel is the one you almost never do in the real world and alley dock is the one you do almost every day and also the one I'm good at. But the third party tester doesn't do alley dock cuz they don't have the space for it at the facility. :/

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

View Topic:

Parallel parking maneuver issues

This is just my personal opinion - the best thing you can do to improve your backing skills is forget what they told you at CDL school about cones, inches, and especially rivets :-) Just look where your tandems go, use every mirror you can, go slow and get out as often as you need.

I actually failed this maneuver for the dmv test. I got the rig in on the first try almost perfectly straight and square in the box, but backed up a little too far and hit the rear boundary wall and the examiner made me start the maneuver over. That really discouraged me and my nerves started getting the best of me to the point where I felt I was about to have a panic attack and I ended up racking up 12 points. I think I only pulled up about 7-8 times but I think the examiner realized I was having a really bad time and just stopped me after I ran over a cone. The fact I couldn't see the rivets and also couldn't really use the landing gear for reference either since there was a panel on this particular tractor obstructing my view of the drive tires didn't help of course.

What you say about using the tandems makes sense though.

I can only GOAL twice for the test though. Of course I should save one for the final check before I blow the horn but I'm trying to decide where I should use the other GOAL. My biggest issue by far is getting that first 45 degree angle. if I could figure out a reliable method of getting that part right no matter what truck I'm in then the rest of the maneuver is easy. Second biggest issue is nerves. At school I nail this maneuver almost every single time no problem because I'm not nervous. Completely different story during the test. I got it in perfect the first try because I wasn't so nervous, but after hitting the wall and having to start over- that all changed.

Its truly amazing how anxiety can affect a persons ability to perform something they've practiced so much already.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Parallel parking maneuver issues

In a Freightliner sleeper unit towing a 28' trailer:

Where is the best starting point? Trailer tires in line with the cone and 2" away from it? Tires 2" away and 1-2" feet ahead of the cone?

What should I look for in my mirror to make the first 45 degree angle? Most instructors at school say to stop turning at a certain set of rivets on the trailer... but what if you cant see the rivets? What is the next best thing to look for? Drive tires in the middle of the landing gear?

The rest of the maneuver I'm pretty solid on.

Any general advice/personal methods on this particular maneuver is welcome. Having a really hard time with it for some reason.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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I keep stalling with the clutch

Thanks for the advice everybody. I didn't stall for the first time today! Woo!!

I have three days left of driving runs (one per day, about 30 mins) before my test on Friday.

I'm definitely improving and I've noticed what my problem is: It's nerves combined with bad coordination. I'm not letting off the brake too soon. What I tend to do is let off the clutch almost immediately after releasing the brake instead of letting it fully grab.

I'm just overall pretty nervous when outside driving and kinda have PTSD from that day I stalled at every stop, haha. Last week an instructor let me just practice coming out of a full stop in 4th in the yard for a little while and I didn't even come close to stalling. Because I wasn't nervous.

On another note: I'm still having some trouble with parallel parking...

Questions:

In a Freightliner towing a 28' trailer, where is the best starting point? Trailer tires in line with the cone and 2" away from it? Or tires 2" away and 1-2" feet ahead of the cone? (cone in line with the rear of the trailer)

Where should I cut my angle in said rig? Middle of the landing gear?

...If I can get those two things down I can nail the rest of the maneuver. Youtube is pretty inconsistent with the parallel vids and sadly the instructors are inconsistent with what they teach as well.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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I keep stalling with the clutch

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CI'm always starting out of a stop in 4th gear- which is kinda the "policy" at the school.

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If it's only 'kinda' the policy, why not try starting in 3rd, or even 2nd? Can't be worse than what you're experiencing now.

I'll ask the instructors if that will be ok. They'll probably say it is. They'll give me a weird look forshure but hey, I'm havin a hard time. Gotta do whatever I can to fix this issue.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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I keep stalling with the clutch

If stalling at heavier weights, start in a lower gear. You should ease out on the clutch on level ground and never touch the throttle.

What school are you attending....company or private? How old are the trucks?

I'm attending a private school in Fontana, CA. Trucks are anywhere from late 90's/early 2000's to 2017. We test and do outside driving in 2012-2017 Freightliners.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

I keep stalling with the clutch

Currently in cdl school and at the outside driving stage. Every single time I go out I stall the truck at least once when coming out of a stop. One time I did it every time I came to a stop and it was terrifying and super frustrating and ruined everyone's day who was in the truck. I cant seem to fix this issue while it hardly ever happens to other students. The instructors are doing their best to help me, but to no avail. I'm always starting out of a stop in 4th gear- which is kinda the "policy" at the school. I'm coming off the clutch too quickly right? But it seems no matter how slow and easy I come off it still happens. On the rare occasion it doesn't happen, I come out of the stop vey awkwardly and the tractor feels on the very edge of stalling still. I can operate the truck on the road fine except for this silly issue and It's starting to make me feel r-worded.

Why exactly does the truck stall? (the instructors do a terrible job of explaining why to me) Would starting in a lower gear help? Any advice would be appreciated. I could probably pass the test and get my license at this point- except only problem is I would almost certainly stall the truck coming out of a stop and auto fail.

Posted:  2 months ago

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A "wet and reckless" in the eyes of potential employers

Good luck brother! Hang in there and you will get in somewhere. good-luck.gif

Thanks for the encouragement!

Would having more endorsements better my chances of getting hired?

Also, when checking your employment history, do companies usually require a certain amount of hours worked over a time period and check your pay stubs to confirm? I'm currently employed, but since I'm going to cdl school I've been on a kind of "per diem" schedule since early March and not getting many hours at all.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A "wet and reckless" in the eyes of potential employers

Am I even eligible to get a CDL though? Its possible that two-alcohol-related offences in the lifetime prior to obtaining a CDL disqualify you from getting one in CA.

Anybody know?

I cant find this information on the CA dmv site, or anywhere on the net surprisingly enough. I tried calling them yesterday but was on hold for 2+ hrs so I dropped the call.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A "wet and reckless" in the eyes of potential employers

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I'm having a really hard time deciding what to do and its driving me nuts, but I'm leaning more towards dropping out and going to paid training.

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Garrett, you've got to be careful at this point. You have already got this ball rolling, and It isn't always the best plan to just try and switch directions. You have got quite a few things that are working against you at this point. With two alcohol related offenses it is highly unlikely that you will be accepted into most of the Paid CDL Training Programs. They are picky. They want to try and determine who the cream of the crop is. They already know how many folks will quit on them, and they want to make sure they are making the best choices from the beginning of the process. Another big red flag for them is the folks who started private school and then dropped out. If you follow your plan and drop out of the private school then you are throwing another disadvantage into the column of things that are stacking up against you.

I honestly think you are better off just staying the course, getting your certificate and CDL, and then applying like crazy to every place you can. There's somebody out there who will give you a shot. I just think at this point you will be better off finishing what you started and trying really hard to find that one company that will say yes to you. If you keep stacking up obstacles it is just going to get harder and harder to get started.

Wow, really good and helpful advice man. Thank you so much. You've pretty much got me convinced I should stay in school now.

I cant express enough how awesome this site is and how helpful everyone has been. Without it I'd be really lost, frustrated and making all kinds of bad choices. Hats off to Brett for getting this thing started. thank-you.gif

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A "wet and reckless" in the eyes of potential employers

Moe, Thanks for the advice. What paid cdl training programs, if any are in the Portland area?? I'll be moving to Vancouver, WA soon. I haven't had any luck finding any in that area, but if there are I'll probably drop out of school and do paid training up there after I move.

Anne, Thanks for the advice. I did fight it. It was originally a DUI but my lawyer reduced it. I did apply through TT already and only Prime and one other company contacted me. I don't remember the other one because they called and I cant find the note I made. I'm guessing it was Western Express. Ill probably apply again but with a different email address. Ill take those back pocket companies now if that's ok, haha.

So yeah at this point I'm having a really hard time deciding what to do and its driving me nuts, but I'm leaning more towards dropping out and going to paid training.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A "wet and reckless" in the eyes of potential employers

I have a DUI from Sept 2015 and a "wet and reckless" from Aug 2014 on my driving record. Both are expunged from my criminal record and driving record is totally clean past 5 years.

Anybody by chance know off the top of their head any companies that hire drivers with more than one alcohol-related offense in a lifetime? I'm aware of the page on this site listing which companies hire DUI's and their specific wait times/polices...but the page hasn't been updated since 09/2019.

Do companies generally see a "wet and reckless" on par with a DUI? My thinking is that while a "wet and reckless" may be seen as less severe than a DUI to most employers, trucking companies consider them pretty much the same thing as a DUI.

Here is the best definition of a "wet and reckless" I could find: “Wet reckless” is simply a nickname for a charge of reckless driving, Vehicle Code 23103, that: Results from a Tahl waiver and plea bargain to charges of driving under the influence, and Includes a note on the defendant’s criminal record that the offense involved alcohol and/or drug use.1 This last factor is what makes a “wet” conviction different from a so-called “dry reckless” plea bargain to DUI charges. A dry reckless does NOT include a note referencing the involvement of alcohol and/or drugs.

I'm currently going to a private CDL school. With a certificate from a private school in hand, 3 jobs in the past 3 years, and those two things on my record, what are my chances of getting hired?

I'm beginning to think they aren't very good and I'm starting to get pretty discouraged.

:(

Posted:  2 months ago

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Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

Why get it, then wait to begin driving several months? It's really a useless endorsement unless you utilize it.

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Obligations to my current employer. They want me to stay for most of the summer and I said I would. I wanted to have my CDL by the time I'm done with them so I can get right into driving.

Yes, I know In that case I should have just found a company training program to do after leaving my job. My mistake. Didn't do enough research before enrolling in this school.

Posted:  2 months ago

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Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

If you want to work for a company that will view your CDL as stale, you'll have to take a refresher course.

What does a refresher course typically consist of?

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

New question: Does getting a CDL, but not immediately looking for a job after look bad to potential employers? Or does it just raise eyebrows? I may not start looking for a trucking job till about 3-4 months after getting my CDL.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

Remember, your home location compared to that company's freight lanes is more important for you than where terminals are located.

Can you elaborate on why? Are you usually able to find what a company's freight lanes are on their website? Or can you just kinda figure it out based on where their terminals are

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

Garrett, here's the well known secret of CDL training schools:

CDL training schools are designed to train students to get their CDL

Nothing more, nothing less. And some career advice: stop jumping around trying to grab the next shiny object. Private school, "one-on-one training" with a rental company, CRST, Wilson Logistics, all those, it seems in the last four days. What's next for this afternoon?

When you committed the to private school, you got on the hook for the $2.5k - $3.5k tuition, then you want to bail on that for something you think might be "quicker"? Rather than getting lost in these weeds, set your goal, decide how you'll get to it, and do not jump around.

I see what your saying about jumping around. I think its all stemming from the fact that I'm constantly having second thoughts about changing careers. So my mind is like: "Well if you ARE going to change careers, you better damn well make sure you take the best route you can find."

I'm convinced Wilson would have been the right choice. I just wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to find a school, get my CDL and move out of California. That way, I would have discovered Wilson, stayed in the career I'm in now, and just waited till 2022 to to their training since I'm willing to do that. Here in southern CA the schools are so overcrowded that you often have to wait at least a month to get in. I wasn't willing to do that, so jumped on the opportunity when I found a school where I'd only have to wait two weeks.

I actually don't have to pay the remaining $2.5k unless I complete the program and go take the skills test. New Covid rules. So I'm only $1k in the hole.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

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What is the logic or reasoning behind that?!? The only possible reason I can think of is they want their trainees "fresh", "pure" and "untainted" by an training program that isn't theirs??? 

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You answered your own question, Garrett. Have you ever tried to teach someone when they come in with an idea of how to do things? It's frustrating for all parties involved. Now, when something is expedited and they don't have time for you to forget what you've learned thus far, it's a hassle.

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That should tell them they're missing out on hiring a HIGHLY dedicated new recruit.

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Everybody says they're a highly dedicated recruit starting out. Not saying you're not, but they hear it so often it loses all meaning. They have their criteria and their rules. That's the only thing that matters. You'd be surprised how many people jump in saying they're willing to do whatever it takes and 2 months later they're going home or 6 months later, they're looking for a company that'll hire somebody with 3 months experience.

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I'm considering calling him tomorrow to do some light begging because needless to say I'm pretty bummed and a little angry. 

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Is this because you're in school or for the DUI? If they can't hire you until 2022 because of the DUI, there's no point in contacting them. Your application is only good for 30-60 days depending on the company. They won't say ok today for 2022. You'd have to wait until then to apply.

My advice, finish school and get hired with whoever will hire you. You've set yourself up to hit some walls here. If you get your CDL now and you sit on the sidelines until 2022, Wilson is going to tell you that your CDL is staleb and they can't go anything with you. They'll tell you to get some experience or take a refresher. Take any job you can get, stick with it for a year and then apply to Wilson if that's what you want to do.

Both. But mostly because I started school before finding out about Wilson. If I hadn't, I would have just stayed in the career I'm in now until Sept 2022 when I could do their training. That way, you're guaranteed to be hired if you complete their program. Now, since I'm already in school and because of their policy, not only can I not do their program, its not guaranteed they would hire me even after getting experience with another company, and now I'm stuck in a sup-par school/training program that's definitely inferior to Wilson's. I feel like I just screwed myself.

Is there a chance that by Sept 2022 their record of me saying I'm already in school might be lost to time? So then I would be eligible their training program? I'm still considering calling the recruiter and asking if he could just do me a solid and take it off record that I told him that.

I still think its kind of a silly policy. Like, how different could the schooling be really? The skills test and requirements to get a CDL are essentially the same across the country, right? So shouldn't all schooling be essentially the same since they're all preparing you to do the exact same test? Even if Wilson does things a certain way or expects certain specific things from their employees which their training program teaches, I'm sure my schooling so far wont interfere or hasn't "brainwashed" me in any way. I've only learned straight and offset backing so far anyway.

Banks, Thanks for the advice & info though, very helpful.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Does being a school grad increase chances of being hired?

I just discovered Wilson Logistics a couple days ago and decided almost immediately to drop out of school and do their training program.

HOWEVER:

I quickly discover that that DUIs must be 7 years old to get on board with them. I was so impressed regardless that I decided to wait till Sept 2022 to do their paid training program.

BUT THEN

I speak to a recruiter and he tells me if you're already attending a school, you're ineligible for their training program. They may hire you upon completing the school, getting your CDL then getting 6 months of experience with another company.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT WHYYYYYYYYYYY

What is the logic or reasoning behind that?!? The only possible reason I can think of is they want their trainees "fresh", "pure" and "untainted" by an training program that isn't theirs??? I mean, I want to join the company so badly I'm willing to drop out of CDL school and wait nearly two years to do they're training program. That should tell them they're missing out on hiring a HIGHLY dedicated new recruit.

The recruiter said he might present my case to his superiors and see if he could pull some strings. Just after that I told him about my driving record and his attitude understandably went a little south after that, but never said I'm screwed and there's no way I'm attending their program.

I'm considering calling him tomorrow to do some light begging because needless to say I'm pretty bummed and a little angry. (Mostly with myself for going gung-ho into this school without doing more research first.)

What do y'all think? Should I just leave it be? Would begging them just annoy them and lower my chances of them ever even hiring me?

By "begging" I don't mean literally begging of course. I'd be mature and would do my best to present a reasonable argument and ask what's up with that policy.

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