Comments By Drew D.

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  • Drew D.
  • Joined:
  • 10 months ago
  • Comments:
  • 38

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Posted:  2 months, 3 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:  2 months, 3 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:  2 months, 4 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:  2 months, 4 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:  2 months, 4 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:  2 months, 4 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:  3 months, 1 week 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:  3 months, 1 week 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.

double-quotes-start.png

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.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Preparing for CDL school. Need advice.

Hello all, So I am starting my 48 hour 1 on 1 CDL A training in alittle over a week. I am currently pre-hired with a mid sized company doing OTR, have my DOT medical card, and received my permit prior to February 7th to sidestep all the new regulations. All that said, I am excited as Hell but absolutely riddled with anxiety. I have been studying the school specific Pre-Trip video in hopes of getting a leg up before my classes even start. The school I am attending has received rave reviews and even do the CDL skills testing on site. So I am not necessarily worried about the quality of my training. So my question is there anything else I could be doing to prepare? I am willing to do whatever it takes to learn these skills and pass. I have alot riding on the success of my 48 hours behind that wheel. I do have previous experience driving Hino flatbeds and Wheel lift tow trucks for AAA. So I am not afraid of the equipment. I know I am probably psyching myself out here but any advice would be appreciated. I worked really hard to get to this point and I really want to be successful in this industry.

Thanks for reading! -Drew

Posted:  9 months, 1 week ago

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Self driving truck concerns

Thanks guys. And no, my family and friends think trucking is a great career path for me. I currently drive for AAA Washington as a Wheel lift / Hino Flatbed / Service truck operator and love being the "captain of my own ship" as opposed to dealing with co-workers and people on a large scale. I am moving from Washington to Idaho and this nessitates a career switch as AAA does not have a dedicated fleet in Nampa. A ton of jobs I see listed are for CDL drivers. So, naturally, I went down this rabbit hole of trucking and watching YouTube videos of OTR drivers and their experiences. I keep seeing this idea of self aware trucks popping up so I figured I would ask the experts. Nothing is going to deter me from getting into this field. My absolute favorite thing to do is long haul towing. Maybe I am just that anti-social or what have you, but I enjoy hitting the road. I just wanted assurance that I will have a job in ten years or so, but I digress. You have all been extremely helpful. Thank you!

Posted:  9 months, 1 week ago

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Self driving truck concerns

So I don't know if this has been beaten to death around here, but what is the general consensus on computers taking over trucking? I ask because I am well on my way to getting a CDL and really want to get into this world. However, there seems to be a ton of belief that truck drivers are going to become obsolete in the near future. Thoughts? I would like to get at least a decade or two out of trucking before I hang my hat.

Posted:  9 months, 3 weeks ago

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Conceal carry question

You have all been incredibly helpful. I was merely inquiring of the possibility. It is nice to hear from experienced drivers that safety isn't a major concern at least in that respect. I am very glad I joined this community and hope you all stay safe and healthy. :)

Posted:  9 months, 3 weeks ago

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Conceal carry question

All great information. Will definitely take everything into account. I just feel like if I am doing a pickup/drop on the south side of Chicago.... Well... Ya know..

Posted:  9 months, 3 weeks ago

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Conceal carry question

Thanks all! I was just curious as I currently drive a flatbed tow truck for AAA and they have a strict policy as well. But the Seattle area has gone to absolute Hell and it has become uncomfortable to do some of these roadside service calls. I am definitely making the jump to OTR trucking once I move out to Idaho later this year and was curious about some of the personal safety protocol drivers take as I assume we carry precious cargo and issues with unsavory types, while possibly rare, still happens. I have a buddy that used to work for SAIA that carried a .40 everyday on the job but wanted a more well rounded opinion. Thank you all for the input. Stay safe!

Posted:  9 months, 3 weeks ago

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Conceal carry question

What is the overall rule when it comes to carrying a pistol or conceal carry weapon? Is this frowned upon in the trucking community? Or is it more of a "don't ask don't tell" type situation? Just curious because I personally carry my firearm with me everywhere aside from my current job at AAA. Wondering if this is something of an option when I go OTR next year.

Posted:  10 months ago

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Taking the plunge

Drew,

I agree with the others: go for it. You already have a head start. The best backers I observed in my training were farm boys who backed equipment and wagons everyday from the time their feet could reach the pedals. My brother in law was a farm boy. He never backed a 18 wheeler, but I saw him back his tractor hitched to a bailer and a hay wagon (3 separate pieces) into the barn with a 90 degree turn and up a ramp barely wide enough to accommodate the equipment. To this day, it was the most amazing backing feat I've ever seen, but it was just a routine thing for him.

Before I was able to start trucking, I was in construction. I've had multiple trailers over the years and backed them up on a regular basis. Was it the same as backing a tractor & 53' trailer? No, but at least I understood the principles of backing, as do you from your experience.

You seem to fit the profile for a natural OTR truck driver. My first advice to guys like you is to learn G.O.A.L. My only mishaps as a driver were when I disregarded the principles of G.O.A.L. Good luck, man.

Thanks for all the useful input!

Also, As far as the Get Out And Look thing, that isn't a problem for me. When I have to back stuff into really tight spots in the greater Seattle area, you are constantly having to get out and evaluate elevations and obstacles. Especially when you are in a wheel lift and there is a divot that can rub a tailpipe or bottom out your boom/stinger. But thank you all for the great advice. As far as homes in western Idaho, we have a significant amount of money to put down so im not overly concerned there. And I plan on being with an OTR company for at least a year if not two. My family has already signed off on this and they accept that it is a sacrifice they are willing to make for a better living later. Besides, I love long haul towing so I can't see this being any different as far as enjoyment goes.

Posted:  10 months ago

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Taking the plunge

Thank you! I plan on taking full advantage. I am very excited and pumped to begin this journey!

Posted:  10 months ago

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Taking the plunge

Hey everyone,

Been poking around at the idea of trucking for awhile. I currently work for AAA Washington and have about 6 years experience operating a Hino flatbed with air brakes around downtown Seattle and other various tight areas of the city. I also have a couple years of wrecker experience backing cars into tight spaces and all of the situational awareness that comes with that. I know backing a full sized trailer and a car into spots is different, but would any of these skills transfer over even slightly? I am planning on paying for my own CDL school when I move out to Boise in a couple of months. And I have to admit, I am slightly nervous for the first time about getting in a truck. I never had too many white knuckle experiences behind the wheel of a freightliner, International, or a Hino, but for some reason I am a bit unsure of myself here. I still want to do it regardless because I need something more than what I am doing now. And my wife fully supports me going OTR for a year or two to pay the dues before getting a local gig in the greater Boise/Nampa area. Any beginner tips, advice, or words of wisdom? I am already familiar and okay with being in a cab for 10+ hours. I currently do this right now in my current profession. I actually prefer the concept of long haul trucking because I don't really care for people all that much and the idea that my interactions can be limited is appealing to me. My goal ultimately would be to get a semi local or regional gig after paying the dues. My boys are both very young and I want to get the grinding done now so I can be present later on.

Thanks!

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