Profile For Stephen T.

Stephen T.'s Info

  • Location:
    Phoenix, AZ

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    11 months, 3 weeks ago

Stephen T.'s Bio

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Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Congratulations Stephen!

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Welcome to the wonderful world of pulling flatbed loads of aluminum!

Thanks! Do you happen to know of any flatbed driver trainers? For whatever reason, I was under the impression that there weren't any and that I would have to wait until after my first 30,000 miles pulling dry van to transfer over. However, I recently came across a Knight ad on my Facebook feed specifically saying they train for flatbed right out of cdl school. If that is true then I would love to go that route.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Thanks everyone!!!

Posted:  10 months, 2 weeks ago

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Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Was down at the terminal this morning, stopped in to say Hi to you guys, but you were out driving I think. Mario said you guys are doing great!

I wish it could have worked out so that we all could have met. Maybe another opportunity will present itself in the future.

Today, I had my DOT test. I passed! Got two points off on the pre-trip. Not really sure what I missed. Got a perfect score on the backing skills. Got 8 points off on the driving test. The other two guys picked for Top Gun next week also passed their tests today.

The instructor that usually teaches Top Gun is moving to another terminal. I believe he will be assisting in starting a Top Gun program there. From what I've heard, the goal is to begin having all students go through Top Gun. We met the instructor yesterday, Will. He seems like a really cool guy with a lot of energy and excitement for the week to come. Since we already received our assignments on the Knight online portal, I will be completing all of them over the weekend. One less thing to do during the upcoming week. When meeting Will, he informed me that my terminal already had a date set to go out with my driver trainer on the 26th (the Monday after I return home next Friday). I was glad to hear they were on the ball with that, but I was also a little disappointed at the same time. My wife wasn't able to fly in, so after Top Gun ends next Friday it will have been a month since I have seen her and my family. I was really hoping to get a few more days with them before I went out with my trainer. Also, it would give me a chance to go to my local DMV and get my CDL. So, I contacted my recruiter and mentioned the situation. I wanted to be sure she knew that if they were unable to move the date then that would be fine. I would do whatever I needed to do for them. She spoke with my DDM. He said that they could move it back to Wednesday the 28th. That sounded great to me, so the date is set for my training OTR to begin.

I still plan on doing flatbed. From what I understand, I will be driving under my trainer and solo for my first 30,000 miles hauling dry van. At that point I will officially be finished with my training and be able to transition to flatbed. Of course, the transition will come with another week or so of flatbed training.

Thanks so much for all of the encouragement and advice from everyone on here! I will continue to update as things progress/change.

Posted:  10 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Week two has come and gone. The first three days consisted of us driving part of the day and practicing our back skills. Tuesday morning we all had our pre-trip evaluation. It's basically a practice test for the actual DOT test. Those of us who did well would continue practicing our backing skills while those who did not would have to spend the remainder of the day practicing the pre-trip. Basically, we have an evaluation for each portion of the DOT test (pre-trip, skills, driving). By passing each evaluation it shows the instructors that we are on track to pass out actual test. If we don't do well then the instructors will help us work on our weaknesses. I only missed four things on the pre-trip, but one was unfortunately an automatic fail. I did not specify in the emergency/automatic spring brake test that the trailer parking brake would engage before or at the same time as the tractor parking brake. Instead, I just said they would both engage. Since I did well otherwise, I was able to go on to practicing my backing skills with the three others that passed.

This Monday we have our driving evaluation and Tuesday our skills evaluation. Thursday, I am scheduled for my actual DOT test. I am feeling very confident with my pre-trip and backing skills. I can perform each step without looking at our paper that has them all written down. If I am off, I can pretty much correct it in order to get the trailer where it needs to go. I really hope we are able to get a decent amount of driving time in this week before our test. While we have gone out driving pretty much every day since Thursday of our first week, we haven't necessarily gotten a lot of individual driving time. There are seven of us and only two instructors at a time can go driving. One instructor has been on vacation and will be back this week. The other has to remain at the terminal with the first week class. That being said, I am very appreciative of our instructors. They have been nothing very professional. They bend over backwards to help us out and have stayed after class hours in order to help us get some extra practice in. All in all, I feel confident that when test day is here I will be ready.

Posted:  10 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Sorry for taking so long to make another entry. The first week has come and gone. It's been a lot of fun and a lot of work. The second part of the week got a lot more exciting since we got out of the classroom and into the trucks. Like Bush Country said we had a holiday Friday, but since one of the instructors offered to help us out a few of us decided to take him up on that offer. We also came in this morning to get a little more practice on the pre-trips since we have our evaluation (practice DOT exam) early next week. The extra practice has definitely helped. I think we finally have all of the parts and terminology down. Our biggest hurdle is not rushing and overlooking anything. Rushing can really cause you to overlook even the most obvious parts or terminology.

One thing I have noticed is the professionalism of everyone from Knight involved with training us. Apart from just being really nice and making us feel welcome, you can tell they really want to help us out in any way possible. They don't give you the impression that they are only there for a paycheck. You can tell they really enjoy what they do. I'm trying to get as much knowledge from them as I can. That's one of the reasons I felt like applying to the Top Gun program was a no-brainer. I'll have the opportunity to soak up more knowledge from the instructors. We haven't found out if we have been accepted yet, but hopefully we will at the beginning of the week.

As for what has been the most difficult for me, it has definitely been being away from my wife and dogs. Hopefully she will be flying in at some point to stay for a week or so. Also, it can be quite difficult to eat healthy while staying in a hotel. At least I have a fridge and microwave. I have been cooking my veggies in the microwave. The mini fridge stays very cold even packed with groceries so that's good. I've also gone through two cases of water so far this week. I've found drinking water to be very important here in Arizona.

Unless anything significant happens then I'll probably wait until the end of the week to update everyone on the week's details. See you Monday Bush Country!

Posted:  11 months ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

This morning I got the news from my recruiter that I will be starting my training in Phoenix this coming Monday. I'll be flying out Sunday morning and be checking in to the hotel later that day. Super excited for what is to come!

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

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Is it difficult to protect your tarps (and your flesh while tarping) from all of the sharp corners?

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Most flatbed drivers use moving blankets or carpet remnants to cover all the sharp edges and corners first. Then we put our tarps over the load. That protects the tarps from getting shredded while traveling. As far as protecting yourself from cuts and such, when you are at the aluminum plants they require you to abide by their dress code. That usually includes wearing long sleeves, long pants, steel toed shoes, and hard hat. I honestly have not cut myself in the last eight years. I haul nothing but aluminum loads. You just have to be careful and pay attention to what you are doing. You never want to get in so big a hurry that you are being unsafe. It is far better to spend an extra thirty minutes on a tarping job making sure it is secure and safe, than to spend a couple of weeks off work due to an injury.

Many of the aluminum plants have tarping machines where you don't actually lay out the tarps on the load. Most of them do not allow drivers to climb on their trailer or their load unless hooked to safety netting or fall harnesses. Safety is a big priority at these operations. Safety and common sense are sometimes at odds with each other, but for the most part if you abide by the posted rules, things will go well for you.

Old School, I would think that one of the benefits of hauling aluminum is that aluminum is a lighter metal. Do you often have loads that come close to your trailers maximum weight limit?

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Here's a SAPA Hydro load I picked out of Cressona PA. Had to tarp it.

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That's quite a bit of aluminum! Is it difficult to protect your tarps (and your flesh while tarping) from all of the sharp corners?

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

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I do have a question that maybe someone can answer. I know that I have read that Arizona is currently under a heat advisory and often construction crews will actually do all of their work at night to avoid the dangers associated with the high temperatures. My question is, will this possibly change any part of the training process? Obviously, this wouldn't hinder any training done inside the truck while driving. What about the hours of pre-trip practice? I'm not afraid of working in the heat, as I've spent the last 10 years working outdoors in the oil field. Just wanting to get an idea of how it might change things during training.

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For the Phoenix area....

I cannot speak to the training as I have not had the training as of yet... and likely, mine will be out of state. I would speculate they may do alot of the outside (non-driving) training in the early morning hours.

This week, the temps have been about 115-118F... the saving grace is that there is low humidity.... but.... hot is hot.... and it is HOT!! Temperatures peak in the mid-to-late afternoon... about 3pm to 4pm... then cool down a little for the evenings. I think this week, I have seen it about 105-110F at 10pm.

Starting Monday.... we see a cool down.... I think this week will only be 105-108F. For the next few months, plan on it easily being anywhere between 100-115F. We may see some lower temps periodically but don't count on it.

One item I did not know about before moving here..... monsoons. The monsoon season started a few days ago. Monsoon are high winds and usually rain in the mid-to-late afternoons. Monsoons seem to be sporadic... and some are actually cool looking, although the winds can be dangerous due to the blowing winds and dust storms. Ask Mr. Google about Phoenix haboobs... and you will see some cool dust storm videos. Last year we essentially had nothing for the monsoon season.... it was called the non-soons! LOL. This year TBD.

Good luck with your training. My opinion... summers here still beat the winters where I grew up. No snow shoveling, no icey roads, no freezing down to the bone.

And remember.... water, sunscreen, shade, water, and more water!!

G....

Thanks for the insight. Every little bit helps. I'll definitely be drinking my share of water. Also, I have a mix of electrolyte supplements which should help out as well.

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

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Went to the Gulfport terminal Wednesday to get my drug test and physical done. Everything went well and everyone was super nice. Today, I found out that the hair follicle test came back negative as expected. Talked to my recruiter and they are just waiting for the results of the urine test to come back. Not sure why that's taking so long. Hopefully it'll be back soon. Was told that as soon as they get the results back I would be heading to Arizona the following Monday. I do have a question that maybe someone can answer. I know that I have read that Arizona is currently under a heat advisory and often construction crews will actually do all of their work at night to avoid the dangers associated with the high temperatures. My question is, will this possibly change any part of the training process? Obviously, this wouldn't hinder any training done inside the truck while driving. What about the hours of pre-trip practice? I'm not afraid of working in the heat, as I've spent the last 10 years working outdoors in the oil field. Just wanting to get an idea of how it might change things during training.

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School usually starts at 6 am down there, we did our pre trip practice in the mornings. Top Gun we did range time in the morning, but afternoon as well some times. It was March and April when I was there, so the heat wasnt too bad. If I recall correctly, Will said they were going to be doing range training at night as well, but Im not sure on that. Hydration is king.

Ready your diary here I noticed where you mentioned there were a few things about the pre-trip that are worded differently. Do you recall anything else of significance that was different than what you may have seen from the practice material on this site? I got my driver ID number today and want to begin looking over some things, but want to try to minimize having to relearn key terms once I get there.

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Went to the Gulfport terminal Wednesday to get my drug test and physical done. Everything went well and everyone was super nice. Today, I found out that the hair follicle test came back negative as expected. Talked to my recruiter and they are just waiting for the results of the urine test to come back. Not sure why that's taking so long. Hopefully it'll be back soon. Was told that as soon as they get the results back I would be heading to Arizona the following Monday. I do have a question that maybe someone can answer. I know that I have read that Arizona is currently under a heat advisory and often construction crews will actually do all of their work at night to avoid the dangers associated with the high temperatures. My question is, will this possibly change any part of the training process? Obviously, this wouldn't hinder any training done inside the truck while driving. What about the hours of pre-trip practice? I'm not afraid of working in the heat, as I've spent the last 10 years working outdoors in the oil field. Just wanting to get an idea of how it might change things during training.

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Hey Old School! Thanks for giving me an idea as to what I will be hauling! Looks like I'll have plenty to keep me both busy and engaged in the near future. Can't wait! I see that you are in Nacogdoches. I've been through there a few times. It's not too far from where I grew up in Oil City, La. Also know of a few who attended the Texas Bible College just south of you. Glad I have someone in the area working for Knight's flatbed division. I'll definitely be having plenty of questions to ask.

Hello Stephen, and welcome to our forum!

I am a flatbed driver out of Knight's Gulfport terminal. The flatbed job they have is serving a dedicated customer. That customer is the Hydro plant in Delhi, LA. Hydro is the world's largest producer of aluminum extrusions. They are headquartered in Oslo, Norway, but have about 25 plants here in the United States. Most of the time you will be hauling their products. Occasionally we pick up some other flatbed type loads for backhauls, but most of the time you will be hauling aluminum extrusions to Hydro's customers, or raw materials going into the plant.

The job out of Delhi is an over the road job with the exception that we seldom go out West. I've been out West a few times on this account, but most of the time we don't go any further West than the Dakotas or Texas. They can keep you busy, and you'll have a great dispatcher. This is a great opportunity for you.

Trucking is generally difficult for most folks to break into. You will find some really solid advice from the drivers here in this forum. I wish you the best, and I hope you will keep us posted on your progress. We will be more than happy to assist you if we can.

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Welcome to TT. I went through Phoenix squire school and Top Gun. I just finished training and am on my second week Solo for Knight. Old school here drives flatbed for Knight and has been an incredible source of knowledge and wisdom. Ive kept a detailed diary of my experience with Knight. Good luck. I'm assuming you will be getting your CDL permit before you go. Can't recommend High Road CDL Training Program enough. Really helps out a lot.

Thanks for letting me know about your diary. I've been reading up on it and it's been a great read so far! Makes me even more excited to get out there and start the process. Also, I received my permit so that part is at least out of the way.

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Soon to Be Flatbed Truck Driver for Knight Transportation

Just a little about myself. I am 31 years old and live in Deville, Louisiana. I have spent the last 10 years of my life working in the oil field. However, I am just one of those people who have always LOVED to drive. I have often found myself during stressful times getting into my truck and just driving. It's almost like therapy to me. Not quite sure why I didn't see the idea of driving for a living sooner. So I looked for a company that had a terminal near me and saw that Knight has one in Gulfport, MS which is just a short trip from my house. Talked it over with the wife and applied. They called back and set up orientation for me next week. When I expressed my interest in flatbed they informed me that if I wanted I could start out in that particular division out of the Gulfport terminal. I'm super excited for the new challenges ahead and really hope everything goes well at orientation so that I can head to their training facility in Phoenix, AZ. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I know I will be away from home quite often while being a truck driver so any advice for me and my wife will also be greatly appreciated!

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