Profile For Drew D.

Drew D.'s Info

  • Location:
    Caldwell, ID

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 months, 3 weeks ago

Drew D.'s Bio

New CDL Class A holder training with my first company.

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Posted:  1 day, 18 hours ago

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Almost done the 6 week training

I love my 13 that I'm training on. It is alot more fluid than the 10 I went to school with.

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Floating gears makes you belong in this industry? confused.gif

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No, but somehow 'splitting' does.... LoL! Dang them 'duckbills!'

I'd take a 13 over a super 10 anyday. Somebody had an EXCELLENT pic of such; let me see if I can find it. . .

No luck yet.

Dang. Sure can't find it!!

Kevin, maybe?

~ Anne ~

Posted:  1 day, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Almost done the 6 week training

Both my CDL school and my company are pro-float. This is how I was taught to drive from two separate entities. Everyone I have come into contact with thinks double clutching is a waste. Besides, I will end up in an automatic next week anyway. I never understood why people are so passionate about shifting styles. If the truck moves and stops in gear, who cares how its done?

Floating gears makes you belong in this industry? confused.gif

Posted:  1 day, 20 hours ago

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Almost done the 6 week training

So the last two months have been quite a ride.

Spent two weeks getting my CDL training in a one on one condensed course, then moved onto my OTR job hauling reefer with a 6 week on board training with a trainer.

First, I definitely belong in this industry. I enjoy myself quite a bit. And my skills floating gears on a 13 speed have increased exponentially. I definitely see why people prefer the 13s to the 10s. Those split gears help.

That said, I have a couple take aways that I wouldn't mind an honest opinion on.

First, when downshifting a 13 speed, my instructor is insistent on splitting gears on the way down to a stop. I initially learn taking whole gears on the way down and find it, not only easier, but stops the truck faster. What are your thoughts on this?

Also, I am doing okay with backing but I am inconsistent. Infact, I tried setting up a straight back today and accidentally bopped the driver side fin due to over angle. My trainer genuinely didn't give a damn because he said it was good training. That said, what are some tips for a 90 degree setup? And regarding the 45 degree setup, I usually pull away to the 12 o clock after my shoulder hits the middle of the spot directly next to the spot I want. But when I do this, I feel like I get to close to the truck on my driver side mirror. Not sure if I am not chasing soon enough or what. But I did have more success pulling away to the 12 o clock after 2 full trucks beyond my space. Is there anything wrong with that?

I apologize if these are absurdly rookie questions. But I am trying to be successful.

That said, my trainer feels great about passing me and recommending me to my own truck.

Cheers and thanks all!

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Is all load planning not planned very well or just my company?

This is spot on. At AAA I had dispatchers that have literally been there since before I was born. The gross incompetence that came from that call center cannot be overstated. That said, anytime I would express a concern, it would usually end with either me being the bad guy, or lip service. Then I remembered advice given by an old mentor in a previous job. You can only control your own attitude and how you approach a situation. Don't expect operations to change. It isn't your responsibility to fix them in the first place. Try to laugh it off and stay off the radar. If it becomes too much, find another company. But never expect things to change around you because they usually won't. This is just a harsh reality when it comes to any job where you have Sweaty Bettys plopped infront of a computer attempting to micromanage icons on a screen. It is very dehumanizing for sure, but it is a consistent variable across multiple industrys.

TL;DR: No they aren't very efficient and it is everywhere in any company where someone else is responsible for planning routes, trips, or managing resources.

I believe trucking is much like the military. We often are tasked with doing the illogical. But someone, somewhere has a reason.

Also, just a personal observation; many trucking companies (even some larger ones) seem to operate very inefficiently. But don’t try to tell them…”we’ve been successful all these years without your input.”😆

You aren’t going to change your company or the terminal staff. So, you have to decide what meets your needs AND what you’re willing to put up with.

I can assure you that you are not the only Driver who feels your frustrations. Just make sure the grass really is greener before you jump. Sometimes it’s just astroturf (looks great, but no foundation or roots).

😎

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Company CDL Program rattled my confidence.

This story reminds me of my AAA tow truck instructor when I first got into towing. I didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground about operating a wrecker or a flat bed rollback. He was a former drill sergeant and tank operator for the military. I was a deer in headlights until the lightbulb went off. I received the tough love treatment to the full extent. I went home some nights wondering if I was even going to make the cut after 3 weeks of training. I told myself I was going to prove this guy wrong and make it happen. At the end of my training, he had installed 4 months worth of tow knowledge in my brain in that three week period and I actually went on to have a very successful career with AAA prior to my CDL. George and I are friends these days now six years later. And I actually called to thank him for teaching me how to back properly after I just recently got my CDL. Without that experience, who knows if I would have passed my CDL skills test the first time as I had other issues to work out on the road. During my CDL training, I had this guy Dave who was a pull-no-punches dude but a total class act. He got me through the driving and shifting problems I had.

Anyway, the point is, rather than quit, put your warface on, and go prove these guys wrong. You are going to face a lot of challenges on the road which include rough personalities. There is nothing wrong with finding another school, but keep in mind that professional driving, be it towing, trucking, hell, delivering mail is going to come with people who are rough around the edges but mean well.

Just my honest two cents. Keep at it and shut them down with persistence!

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

Yeah I feel like the six weeks of training I'm going to get going OTR with a trainer from my company is going to help me develop significantly more realistic shifting habits. I will be in a 13 speed for those six weeks and then I have a choice between another 13 speed or an automatic. Right now, I am all about the learning curve of getting these gears air tight. That said, I am going to do what feels safe within my means.

All the advice you have given me has been awesome and definitely helped me pass my road test. I missed 11 points out of 38 according to my tester. He said I did phenomenally well for having been placed in their worst truck for training and testing (his words). That said, I have a ton of improvements to make. But I feel like time behind the wheel running OTR with the guidance of am experienced in house trainer is going to be the biggest boon to improving all aspects of my capabilities. I only have a couple more days and I cannot wait. Been out of work for two months (longest I've ever been out the work force in my life) in order to obtain my class A.

I will keep you all in the loop as my journey progresses. Thanks again for the straight up no BS feedback and advice! Be safe!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

Passed my skills test today with flying colors. I pick up my CDL Class A tomorrow and off to work Sunday! I have six weeks of training on a 13 speed, then I get a choice between a 13 speed or an automatic when I get out on my own. Very excited to begin this new chapter in my life!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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After 3 months, I’m quitting

Dude I swear to god if I can learn to back, you can as well. I actually learned to back when I was a wheel lift operator for AAA.

When I started at AAA 6 years ago, I had the same mentality. I loved the job but couldn't back cars into spots. I got hard on myself and told myself that I couldn't do it.

Fortunately, years later, I am now impressing my instructors at CDL school with my backing.

The best advice that was ever given to me is steer TOWARDS your problem in the mirrors, and just get loosen up your hands. Remember that you want to SET the angle and then chase. Stick, move, and reset your wheel. Don't leave your wheel turned or the trailer will get away from you and you won't be able to get the tractor back infront of it.

If you give it time, I promise a light bulb will go off.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

Thanks for all the great advice!

I went in today and hammered the road for a solid 6 hours. I did significantly better overall. I added double clutching and started using my clutch to pop my gears out if they were being stubborn.

The mistakes I made were silly and shouldn't happen again. IE: Trying to drop from 6th to 5th and forgetting to flip my splitter.

Also, I need to get better coming to stops in the appropriate gear. They want to see us at a complete stop in the lower gears (5th at the very least). Before we reset to 2nd. That said, I wait too long before downshifting trying to rush down all my gears. I know that this takes time and finesse.

My school makes me move my hands off the shifter when not shifting. I know this is technically how it should be, but man do I feel more in control when I have my hand at the ready on the shifter.

All in all, I test tomorrow after a full day of training. I am air tight on my pretrip and skills. Just need to hope I have acquired enough know how to drive to their satisfaction. I know that I am a safe driver at the very least. Regardless, if I fail, I fail. I will get back on the horse bloody and bruised. No other option.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

I have been mixing in double clutching. Problem is, the instructor I had for the first five days insisted on floating. May I ask what the advantage is for a newbie to Double Clutch vs Floating? I feel like I have a good rhythm with Floating, but I will gladly take extra steps if it means being safe and not getting caught with my pants down and losing a gear I can't get recover from.

Just get through those individual gears as fast as possible. You will have problems after six days or six weeks, honestly. I would skip the floating gears until you get a grasp on normal clutch shifting.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Gaming in a truck

I bought an Oculus Quest 2 to start with. I figured since I will literally be living in a mobile pantry with a mattress, I guess it makes sense to bring VR into the mix. It is actually pretty killer. Plus there are workout apps so you can at least try to get some blood pumping.

That said, as soon as I get some extra scratch, I will be investing heavily into a good gaming laptop and internet dongle.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

I can double clutch. And you are correct. I have driven a 10 speed for all of 6 days now. I am definitely making progress but I need real time behind the wheel. I have absolutely no delusions about being a Jedi Master at shifting. I just need the necessary foundation to build upon. Coasting in neutral is unacceptable from failing in lower gears. I will take your advice and try to get on the other side of that splitter ASAP.

Also, I am pulling a smaller empty trailer. Somewhere in the 20 - 30 foot range.

My rule of thumb; get out of the lower gears as quickly as possible. About 1 full second (1-Mississippi) until in fifth, then let it wind out a bit longer. You need to be quicker.

When empty you don’t need to start in first. Try 2nd or even 3rd. Get to at least to 3rd, preferably 4th before turning.

Without seeing you going through the gears, that’s the best I can offer.

I have the same concern for you now that I had when I first read your initial post... not enough practice and floating. The instructor will want to see the two pops on the clutch.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

Great advice! Unfortunately, my CDL school wants to see proper gear progression. I have to start in 2nd and make my way through all lower gears. Needless to say, I am a real joy to be behind at intersections!

If you're dragging around an empty trailer. I would be starting in 3rd gear, then jump to 5th gear.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Problems in lower gears (10 speed)

I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction or offer some good advice.

I am taking my CDL skills test in two days. I still have two days worth of school/drive time. I am destroying the Pretrip and Backing portions. The shifting has its ups and downs and could ultimately be my downfall if I lose a gear during the road test.

I am totally comfortable going from 6th - 10th. And I am good floating from 2nd to 3rd. The problem is 4th and sometimes 5th for some reason. I get locked out of 4th and can rev up to 5th. Sometimes I have to skip all the way to 6th just to stay alive.

It usually happens if I hang out in 3rd too long completing a maneuver. Maybe I am upshifting too slow on the lower gears? Regardless, I can't let this be the reason I fail my road test. There were two occasions today where I completely flat lined in my lower gears, had to engage my 4 way, and restart. Which is unfortunate because I have really been progressing on the training on the manual where I have 2 hours of brilliance overshadowed by one screw up that would sink me.

So what is the deal with the lower gears? I hear alot about the math system for 6th and above. How would you recover being locked out of one of those lower gears? Do you skip it? or rev and wait for the gear to let you in?

I cannot afford a restart on my test from not being able to get a gear. Any and all recovery advice would be incredibly appreciated.

Thanks!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Advice for newbie on a 10 Speed

Thanks! I did 1000% better today. Drove through downtown Boise twice today and into some mountain roads. My instructor has me starting from 2nd unloaded to get the motions right. My big issue today was missing 4th for some reason. I can downshift to 4th all day but floating up to it is a grind fest at least 50% of the time. Oddly enough, I hit 9th every time without fail. So its obviously an RPM and/or speed issue that I need to adapt to. 6th gear has been my savior if I screw up on the tail end of the lower gears.

Also, you are right about the panicking. I am getting better at downshifting before predictable stops and stop lights. I also tend to panic a bit and over rev the engine while trying to hit a gear to keep it from coasting. These are personal demons I need to work out.

Also, is it normal to feel a smidge of grinding in the shifter while floating? I still get the gear right. Just not always as smooth consistently.

Thanks!

I’ve been in a manual truck my entire career so far. I still remember learning how to float for the first time and how much easier it made life. Once you get it down it becomes second nature.

Beat advice I can give is as soon as you miss a gear give it a good rev. Up to 1500 and what I did in the beginning is try to gently as I good push up against the gear that I was trying to get into until it slips in. Yes it will grind alittle but this is until a you get the hang of it. And when I say push you don’t have to push hard. And shouldn’t.

Sometimes it worked on the first try but most times in the beginning I’d have to do it a second time maybe third. Repetition will be the only way you’ll get good at it. So don’t sweat it. It will come. Just whatever you do don’t panic and try slamming it and muscling it into gear.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Advice for newbie on a 10 Speed

Hey everyone, I know you are probably tired of hearing from me, but I am almost at the finish line.

I have a few questions regarding training in a 10 speed manual freightliner with an old Eaton Fuller transmission.

My instructor is teaching me exclusively how to float the gears versus double clutching. I only need to demonstrate one time that I can double clutch during my on road test. I have been at this for 2 days and while my shifting is getting better, I am still occasionally having a hard time finding the gears when I upshift and downshift and find myself rushing to 6th to stop myself from coasting.

I admittedly do panic and use too much of my awareness focusing on shifting versus other more important things going on around me.

So I guess my question is, any advice for a newbie when it comes to properly shifting and getting comfortable enough to make shifting second nature so I can focus on not coasting across railroad tracks? 😂😂

Thanks again!

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Pre-Trip test anxiety

Thanks! Everyone has been very helpful. I am making great strides in my pretrip.

My real demon, as it turns out, is handling a 10 speed manual. In Idaho, you only have to demonstrate double clutching once to the instructor. So they are teaching me how to float gears primarily. I went on my first road drive today through downtown Boise and the I-84 freeway. I am having a hard time catching gears consistently up and down to where I end up getting locked out into neutral and thus forced to coast (really bad I know). I usually end up finding 6th as my savior gear and can adjust accordingly. That said, I have to stop myself from panicking like a deer in headlights and slamming the gas in desperation to find anything to keep me going in traffic. The other thing is that I am so fixated on not screwing up my gears that I'm not paying attention to other equally important things like mirrors, good turns, and being as situationally aware as I am used to being in a bigger vehicle. I need to get over the hump where it feels at least natural enough to pass my road test. My employer that is waiting for me uses automatics. And while I'm not trying to use that as a crutch, I would rather learn other more important aspects of trucking once on the job before I get into a manual post-CDL school.

All that said, failure is not an option for me. I have so much riding on my ability to get this CDL. Not to mention, I am just really passionate about making this a career. I love being on the road. I am not oblivious to the many challenges I'm sure to face, but I can't imagine doing anything else. After 6 years at AAA and towing in wreckers / Flatbeds, I found the thing I enjoy the most is long haul driving.

Thanks for all the support. You are all awesome!

Step by step

1. Everything is properly mounted and secured. Is it an "at both ends" part?

2. What is it made out of?

All metal is not CBB. ( Cracked bent or broken) all rubber is no ABC (abrasions bulges or cuts) mad probably not dry rotted or worn.

3. Does it transport something or hold something? Ex Not leaking or filled to manufacturer specifications... Oil, air, coolant, power steering fluid?

I color code my pretrip for my students if you know the trailer you know like 80% of the truck. Airbags, frame and cross members, the entire axle (spring hangers, arm, brake chamber, shock absorber, etc) are on the other sections also.

Of the entire pretrip, the brakes are the most important and an auto fail for doing it wrong. Learn that first. Then trailer. That is how I do it.

Good luck. And remember there is no time limit... At least not in my state so say everything twice aloud so they can hear you. Don't mumble to yourself. If they hear it, it counts.

The Examiner is a score keeper... And he wants you to pass.

Good luck

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Pre-Trip test anxiety

So today was day 1 of 8 at CDL school. I did better than expected in some areas, and worse in others. I expected my backing to need some work due to being out of a wrecker tow truck for a few years now. But it turns out, backing a trailer is actually easier than backing up a car (in my opinion). I nailed all 3 backing courses in one shot with no more than a single pull up. I expected to struggle on the 10 speed manuel transmission. I didn't expect to have as much trouble floating that gears (this is how they teach it and I only have to demonstrate double clutching a single time to the tester).

Where I really had some disturbing trouble is the pretrip inspection. I studied the ever loving crap out of it from multiple sites and videos. I even impressed my trainer who said I am absurdly ahead of the game because I knew the majority of the components. I got into trouble because I got into my own head, starting getting ahead of myself, and would forget elementary things because of nervousness and anxiety. Like I know the test but I am crap at putting it into words. Have any of you been down this road? How did you get over that hump? I know I have the fortitude and the will to succeed in trucking but this particular test just doesn't cater to my strong points as a person. I am just really bad at regurgitating information in that manner even though I know the material.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated more than you know!

-Thanks!

Posted:  2 months ago

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Preparing for CDL school. Need advice.

Idaho CDL training out of Boise and Doug Andrus Distribution out of Idaho Falls. They are reimbursing my tuition in increments. The school and job have no connection. I enrolled in this CDL school because of the rave reviews and because I wanted to get started in trucking with a good foundation. The job came about after I went to a local job fair in Caldwell Idaho to talk with people inside the industry. I have been obsessed with learning the business so I saw it as a good opportunity to shake some hands while I await my boot camp dates. Met a recruiter from the company who went out of his way to follow up with me and give me a ton of insight. I then took it upon myself to take a four hour drive out to Idaho falls to tour their facility and just learn more. I also managed to kill my pre-diabetes and drop 50 pounds on a keto diet so I could easily pass my DOT exam (which I did). So all that awaits me now is charging into my 48 hours of condensed training to get certified.

Sounds like how I got started. May I ask the school and company?

Posted:  2 months ago

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Preparing for CDL school. Need advice.

Thanks for that! To clarify, its 48 hours all behind the wheel at CDL school and 6 weeks with a trainer with my company for OTR. I will be hauling reefer midwest.

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I am probably psyching myself out

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That's probably the case. Sounds like you're well prepared for this. Starting out isn't nearly as hard as it seems. The danger comes when you become too relaxed behind the wheel.

I'm more than a little concerned about only getting 48 hours of training. Hopefully your company will provide additional training before turning you loose.

Don't let the anxiety get to you. Remember that oodles of people do this every day. You've got this. Good luck.

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