Profile For Moose

Moose's Info

  • Location:
    Tahoe City, CA

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 1 month ago

Moose's Bio

Lost my spouse to cancer. After years of playing desk jockey, I decided it was time to chase my dream of living and working on the open highway. Flatbed/tankers are my passion. Long term goal is to start an O/O excavation business. Ask me anything -- I apologize if I take a while to respond. Cheers & safe travels!

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Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Thanks so much Anne!

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COUNT ME IN!!

I'm sorry, I didn't say Congrats, proper . . by MY standards!! :)

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:P good-luck.gif sorry.gif good-luck.gif Dispatch is LURKING, haha!

Best to ya, man!

~ Anne & Tom! ~

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Thank you! :)

Congrats on passing you CDL exam, Moose!

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Thank you! 😂

Congratulations!

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Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Prime Inc. CDL Program in a Nutshell:

1. The Ramada Inn is pretty disgusting. Make the best of it: bring some cleaning supplies (Lysol, dish soap, air scent to keep the room smelling fresh). The hotel is definitely not a reflection on Prime Inc., which is unfortunate, because it's the very first impression all of us got. The terminal in Salt Lake City is pristine, well-maintained, and warm and hospitable.

2. Use the gym at Prime Inc. from day one. It's free for all students and employees. There's a locker room in the hallway behind the weight training room that features individual shower stalls, lockers, towels, soap, etc. This is a good place to get a hot shower when the water is cold at the Ramada (it often is! the water was actually turned off twice while I was there). The gym is great for getting your blood moving and keeping your mind sharp for the long days on the Pad.

3. If you're one of the students who does not receive a PSD trainer (1:1 trainer), you'll be on the 'pad'. Use your time wisely here, the CDL instructors are smart and they pay close attention to who is focused and who is not. Focus on the tasks they give you, even if it means repeating them until boredom has set in. I found myself walking back and forth on the pad for hours repeating my Pre-Trips. This helped immensely; I aced my Pre-trip because of this. I also used this time to observe other students perform their backing maneuvers. I paid attention to key pivots (points the vehicle stops and/or the steer tires change direction). Talk to students who seem to grasp the backing maneuvers easily and pick their brains. Have them walk you through their setups step-by-step. Compare and contrast this to what the instructor teaches. The small differences are key to understanding what is going on with each component of the backing maneuvers.

4. Spend a lot of time mastering Straight Back and Offset before [proceeding to Alley Dock and Parallel. These latter maneuvers are composed of a series of straight backs and offsets. Knowing how to do the former well is key to being highly proficient at the latter.

5. Study the Pre-Trip paper you're given by the CDL instructors verbatim. Do not wing it. Memorize it just as you would the alphabet. You should be able to recite it with the same ease you can speak the letters of the alphabet. It should become so routine to you that you can talk someone through their Pre-Trip over the phone while eating a sandwich in a completely different time zone. Examine all of the different trucks on the Pad. They're all slightly different in terms of layout. Especially in-cab.

6. Don't wander away from the Pad for extended periods. Not without letting someone know. This makes the CDL instructors mad and they'll kick you to the end of the list when it comes to DriveTime, being advanced to others' pads, and generally progressing through the program. Help out your fellow students who are struggling. The CDL instructors want cohorts to move together as a team and bring up everyone from the back. I personally took a handful of students under my wing to help them out one-on-one with their Pre-Trips and Backing Maneuvers. All of us being on the same level meant that in the end, we all received adequate practice time for backing maneuvers.

7. Don't get too upset if you feel like you're ahead of your cohort or behind your cohort. Everyone in my cohort graduated effectively at the same time, regardless of their 'talent' or 'skill' or 'aptitude'.

8. The Pad is a form of psychological warfare. Prime Inc. is going to deliberately put you through a series of mentally taxing experiences that are designed to test your patience and willingness to endure delays, setbacks, and any other negative experience one might come across working as a trucker in the field. Waiting is fact of life for truckers. The most important lesson most of us learn on the Pad is to embrace the long, cold waits and discover a deep level of patience and calm in ourselves that we never knew existed. In this sense, the Pad is a very humbling experience.

9. Everything they teach you on the Pad, Orientation, and on the Sim is DIRECTLY applicable to passing the DMV drive test. This program is very well suited for anyone who has any doubt in their abilities. The only students that I saw who were on the verge of 'giving up' or 'cutting loose' or otherwise abandoning the program, came into the course with a bad attitude or were unfocused. Many students on the Pad who have trouble typically sit down all day listening to music, hoping that success will land in their lap. They often fail to memorize the steps to the backing maneuvers (imperative to success!), and they just never got up and watched what others were doing and actively participated in the activities. C's get degrees in school, but at Prime Inc., you definitely have to put in the effort if you want to trifecta. It's tough, it's hard, at times you'll feel like your brain is numb trying to grasp everything. That's the road to success.

10. Try your best to connect with your fellow students. I was super fortunate to have some super awesome people in my cohort. I couple of them I believe will be my friends for life. You'll be talking to them every day for 4-6 weeks. Be kind, be helpful, and be generous. It's worth it.

Special Mentions:

If you have the ability to drive yourself to Salt Lake City, you will have many advantages. Do it!

Posted:  11 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update (final weekly update):

As anticipated at the end of last week, things picked up fast this week. I got all of my drive time hours knocked out in one fell swoop. I went on 3 separate 1-hour drives with 3 separate CDL instructors. At the start of the week, I was pulled into the truck to wrap up my remaining 3 hours with an extended drive. I have no doubt that if I had shown any reluctance to expedite my drive hours, the instructors would have made accommodations to spread out my drive time over more days, or offered focussed instruction for areas I felt weak. That was not the case for me or most of the others in my cohort. We were all ready to test. And over Thursday and Friday, between snowstorms, we all got through our DMV tests successfully.

At Prime Inc., if you successfully pass all three components of your DMV test, you 'trifecta' and receive a $250 bonus as well as some free gear from the Prime Store (beanie/cap/etc). It was a nice end to a nearly 6-week program.

At this juncture, I head home for a respite to finalize my CDL in my home state and wait for a call letting me know when my TNT trainer will pick me up. I've opted to be picked up at the Salt Lake City terminal, as I am in the process of leaving my home state permanently.

Technical detail: When you pass your DMV drive test with Prime Inc. in Salt Lake City, you will be sent back to your home state to finalize your CDL at a Commercial Driver Servicing DMV office (not just any DMV office, unfortunately). They will pull up your record of passing the examination by 3rd party affiliate in a database called CSTIMS (most US states utilize it, but not all), and use that to ultimately issue a temporary CDL A until a hard copy is mailed to you.

Once you finalize your CDL with your home state DMV, you update Prime Inc. via an app 'upload image of CDL' and then email the TNT coordinator to inform them that you are ready to dispatch. At that point, you are on the company payroll and begin receiving $900/week. The word is that I should not expect a TNT trainer before the 1st of the year (14+ days), but it could happen sooner. For this reason, I'm heading back to SLC as soon as I receive my CDL A to ensure I'm ready at a moment's notice.

I'm set to join the Flatbed Division. I must complete 30,000 miles (~10 weeks) of TNT, attend a 'Flatbed Bootcamp' for specialized securement training, and then shadow a flatbed driver for a period of time thereafter. It's a bit more complicated than Reefer Division, but it's in line with my long-term goals.

I'm planning to write a cliffs notes version of my CDL program in Salt Lake City for those who want the quick details. Otherwise, I do not intend to write any further details about my CDL journey with Prime Inc. Hope you found some of the info in this thread useful. Cheers!

Posted:  11 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update:

Wrapping up 5th week! A confluence of factors has caused delays in CDL training. Students in the cohort ahead of us required additional time to pass their DMV test. More students on the pad rolling in from behind meant that the instructors had to spread their time accordingly, and a snowstorm hit Salt Lake City that grounded CDL drive time for a day (both backing and road drive time).

Some students are frustrated because they were anticipating having their CDL by this point and being on the company payroll ready to dispatch for TNT (the next step in our careers as truckers with Prime Inc.). I too have had moments where I am frustrated and disappointed, but honestly, looking at the big picture, I'm still far ahead of schedule than if I had stayed in California and gone the self-paid CDL route. And frankly, the training and experience I'm gaining here are top-notch. It's definitely a 'when life gives you lemons' experience. I'm choosing the enjoy the lemonade. The weather is fairly clear in the week ahead and the last of the students in the cohort ahead of us have succeeded in passing their DMV test and have moved on.

I'm looking forward to the next week. I anticipate things will pick up. With any luck, I'll have my drive time hours near completion and a DMV test just around the corner. The target date of completion has been slowly creeping back over the past two weeks, but I'm fairly optimistic that we'll be out of here by Christmas.

The one positive of all these delays is that I have now achieved a level of competence with my backing maneuvers that I could not have expected upon entering this program. In fact, I'm beyond following steps to 'get the tractor-trailer in the box and I'm now focused on mastering course correction (minor offsets) and 'steering the tandems'. It's definitely not a cakewalk, but I've achieved a level of confidence and competence in my backing skills to make this whole program worth every penny to me.

Addendum:

Due to all of the little setbacks, our cohort has been given staggered days off, which gives us the opportunity to rest and recuperate or take little vacations around Salt Lake City to give our brains a much-needed break from the daily grind. Not to jinx me, but I found something in this program that I did not come here seeking, and that alone, has made this experience one of the best decisions in my life.

Posted:  12 months ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

I was just joking about this with a fellow student. I actually tried to dump it last week but soon realized being this far along in my CDL program was the worst time to make massive changes to my diet. As soon as I’m running solo I plan to ditch diet soda entirely. I’m very health conscious otherwise. Garbage in; garbage out. Health is wealth. Etc!

Great updates! Keep plugging along. Get off that poison "Diet Dew"! That stuff is all high-carb sugar, and nothing but garbage for your system.

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Posted:  12 months ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Thank you!

Just read entire diary. Nice job! Good luck on your tests. God speed

Posted:  12 months ago

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Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly update:

Week 4 (technically Sunday is the end of week 4 since this is a 7-day-a-week CDL class, but who's counting?). My private journal tells me that today is Day 26 of my training (25 days if we discount Thanksgiving taken off!). Clear as mud, yeah?

This week saw a repeat of the previous week. The remainder of my cohort came up from behind and joined me on the pad for the alley dock and parallel (driver/passenger side). The pad instructors had kind of abandoned my pad to focus on getting students 1:1 drive time so it wasn't until the start of this week that I received step-by-step, pivot-by-pivot walk-throughs of the parallel and alley dock. I realized I was taught slightly differently from the prior cohort I was merged with. The instructor noted that they were a wild bunch and not the best examples to learn from. Oi!

I was a bit peeved at first, but honestly, after seeing the instructors show how to do the backing maneuvers properly, I was pleased with the lessons and happy to scrape the lessons from my brain and insert this new version instead. The major takeaway for me was that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I'm constantly hearing the other trainers on the pad comment on backing setups and they fault the driver for x-y-z, but the driver ultimately gets the trailer in the box, sans penalties. Some of my peers have mastered their maneuvers so well that they perform them better than the CDL instructors teach. I'm hell-bent on getting it done the way Prime Inc. is training me to get it done. And I will admit, sometimes it isn't perfect, but I always manage to get it in the box.

This week I felt like I was on the border of nervous exhaustion. The day off for Thanksgiving didn't give me the rest and recuperation I needed. A little bit of drama with someone in my cohort took its toll on my emotional capacity. I felt broken and sad. By midweek I was burnt out. I needed to recharge my batteries. I've been giving and giving and giving so much to my cohort to make sure that everyone is mastering their pre-trip and backing maneuvers, I neglected myself and it took its toll. I had to focus on myself and just shift into the background this week. A couple of days I was operating on zero sleep and it showed in the quality of my backing maneuvers. It doesn't help that we sit out in the cold for hours and get one shot at our backing per day. It's upsetting to perform a maneuver poorly when you only get one chance to do it per day. The days I get good sleep I always excel. It's just nerve-racking when you screw up on your practice day and have to wait 24 hours to clarify whether you know what you need to do to get the job done right.

By Friday, I showed up to class and realized it was time for another Friday safety meeting and free breakfast. After eating poorly for Thanksgiving I jumped headfirst back into keto. And I'm still transitioning. But my hunger was dead and I decided to get a Denver omelet and Diet Mountain Dew for lunch. And just when I was feeling like today was going to be another low, I was told that I would finally get some drive time. I was ecstatic, deep down. Finally, a chance to get off the pad and try something different.

My first hour of drive time went rather well. The CDL instructor gave me lots of helpful feedback throughout the drive and I think I was able to incorporate it effectively in real-time. I didn't get many notes post-drive, but I did see the instructor put some notes into a computer. No doubt, things that I could work on for my next drive time. It felt good to be out on the road. It honestly felt like a 20-minute drive, and yet an hour passed by! Time flies when you're having fun.

I'm hoping to trifecta (pass all 3 DMV driving tests) on or before the 13th of December. I lost my spouse to cancer on Dec 14, 2020, and her ashes are spread in Lake Tahoe. I would love nothing more than to be able to accomplish this feat before that date and be back 'home' to be with her on the 14th.

The prospect of holding a CDL becomes more real with each passing week, but this week felt like it was finally within reach.

I'm wrapping up my Friday with plans to hit the hay early before the noisemakers arrive at the hotel. Part of the reason why I have so much trouble sleeping is the clientele at the Ramada Inn. At midnight last night, I heard what sounded like a herd of animals pounding on the floor, running around, screaming. Another night the room adjacent to me sounded like 'hookers and blow' all night. As I was walking to breakfast I could hear them going at it.

My only advice is, get as much sleep as you can, anywhere you can get it!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update

Going to keep this one fairly brief! The past week has been focused on refining backing maneuvers on the pad (straight back, off-set right/left, parallel right/left, and alley dock drivers side).

The majority of my cohort continues to work on straight backs and off-sets while I get 'promoted' to another pad to focus on parallel and alley dock maneuvers. Some of them are vocalizing their frustrations that they're not being advanced fast enough. Having prior experience with a Class A vehicle made learning how to control the tractor-trailer a breeze this time around. Some of my friends are frustrated by how long it is taking them to pick up straight backing and offsets. I sympathize because I remember the first time I learned these techniques I was equally confused and it took me a couple of weeks of regular practice to get to the point that I delivered consistent results. In a way, I'm jealous, because they have no experience, and they're picking it up way faster than I did the first time I learned it. Strange how that works.

For the better portion of the past week, I was the lowest guy on the totem pole as I was tossed into a cohort that started before me. That meant that I was mostly sitting on the pad freezing in the cold wind of the pad, watching others perform backing maneuvers, and me squeezing my set in at the end of the day. I don't have any complaints. Still on schedule to wrap up this training by the end of week 4 or 5 at the latest. That was my goal. Because I only had one 15 minutes set to do each day, I focused all my energy on mentally visualizing each setup, practicing the maneuvers seated in a camp chair while watching other students perform them successfully. It got to the point I was able to anticipate the next pivot point and predict failure or success. When I DID finally get my chance to practice the maneuver, I was ready and performed it with great success. I'm happy that I've mastered parallel parking to successfully get into the box.

The cohort I was at the bottom of the totem pole finally moved on. Yay! I finally get a chance to do multiple backing maneuvers a day. I started with an alley dock. Quite different from any of the other maneuvers, but I successfully performed it solo by my second attempt in the afternoon.

Lots of gossip on the pad -- some funny, some sad. I try to let it go in one ear and out the other and keep a smile on my face. Some of the stories about TNT drivers are downright hilarious and disturbing. I was told about a TNT driver who kept a bucket in his cab in which he defecated while the student was in the cab. Fiction or nonfiction? Maybe a mix of both? Who knows! Some of us are deeply disturbed and the '****' bucket jokes have become a daily thing. It's nice to get a gut-wrenching laugh. Being the 'there are no problems, only solutions' guy I ask myself how I would react in these hypothetical situations. I'm at a complete loss for words here. Fingers crossed I don't get Mr. Bucket for TNT.

The week ahead should see me starting my 'drive' time hours (each of us gets 6 hours behind the wheel 1-on-1 with a trainer), wrapping up my Pre-Trip Inspection with Lights and In-Cab Inspection, and perfecting Maneuvers prior to DMV testing. Depending on how quickly this all unfolds, I anticipate my first DMV drive test to be late next week or early the following week. I'm not in a rush. It's fun to talk to my friends on the pad. I love their company. I learn new things every day. Even just watching others perform maneuvers. I learn most when I pass on what I've learned to others. Compounding knowledge leads to wisdom. I'm far from that point but I'm on the right path.

Addendum:

We got Thanksgiving day off. It was nice. I got to spend the day with my new friends and that was a blast. I haven't had this sort of comradery in a very long time. The only negative was I had too much pie and wrapped up the day in a sugar coma and woke up the next morning with a sugar hangover. Back to eating healthy!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

PSD/Orientation With Prime Inc., Springfield MO

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CDL test was pretty easy, dont sweat that!

No im reefer, decided to do this first and see what's what. Never have driven anything bigger then a humvee so I wanted my first timenti be easy.

And yeah they are short on trainers, that being said only took a week to get mine. And I got paid for that week.

Good luck man! Hope to see you out there!

Thanks Mark! Safe travels over the winter!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

PSD/Orientation With Prime Inc., Springfield MO

Well not much to say about TNT other then you drive. Try to sleep on the bumpy roads, which is rough.

Learning macros, paperwork, real world backing. How to accept loads and talk to shippers and recievers

Pretty good stuff. So far picking up what I need to know.

Feeling good and still loving the job.

Thank you for the updates Mark! Could you clarify, are you doing TNT pulling a flatbed? I haven’t heard you talk about securement or other flatbed specific details. I am about a week away from testing for my CDL in Salt Lake City (they are incredibly backed up here!) and it sounds like I will be doing TNT on a reefer, then return to do bootcamp and some additional flatbed specific drive time after that. hearing all of the same talk about shortage of trainers that I am working on this thread. What is true? Who knows!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

PSD/Orientation With Prime Inc., Springfield MO

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Bet you have a lease trainer, right?

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Yeah, and I want to make him money and treat his equipment with respect.

But I also have to learn.

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Well, most of these guys I've met don't know jack about anything except they believe they are running a successful business. Don't concern yourself "making him money!" If he wanted to make money he should have stayed as a company driver.

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The RPMs are not going to hurt or damage anything under about 2400, so you're doing fine. These engines have safety features built in nowadays to prevent over revving the motors. The higher the RPMs, the more effective the engine breaking will be.

As for smoking any brakes, the way to prevent this is to control your descent ahead of time, keeping the speed lower. You're not using stab braking, either. That what you do when a deer jumps out in front of the hood. You're doing normal, controlled braking.

My method: When descending a long grade, start at the top about 20 mph below the speed limit while utilizing the Jacobs Brake feature. When you have noticed the speed climbing to about 7-10 mph faster, get on the brake pedal for a steady pressure for about 5 seconds, decreasing that speed. Repeat as needed to maintain a comfortable and controlled descent and adjust the engine braking as needed--low, medium, or high.

Speed kills, and overheating the brakes can kill you, too. If you can't get fully stopped in a quarter mile distance , while maintaining complete control of your rig, you're coming down the hill too fast.

All hills are different, just the same as all loads are different. This will take a bunch of driving experience to figure it out for yourself, so for now take it slow and safe.

PackRat — Thanks for this advice. Very helpful!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

If they are motivated enough to truly want to pursue trucking, something as easy as the pre trip inspection should not be a huge hindrance, especially after more than a week of study. Some either can not or will not do what's necessary to facilitate their own success. Not everyone can be saved, especially from themselves.

No disagreement here. Honestly, I enjoy the whole pre-trip process immensely. I get profound satisfaction from doing it well every single time. Especially since my eyes are beginning to pick up on the areas of the engine compartment and chassis/frame components that are prone to failure and wear and tear. I think most flatbed drivers derive a similar satisfaction from performing a quality load securement.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

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Anne,

Thanks for the reminder about Burts chapstick. there was another one that was sold at ski resorts I worked out in Tahoe that was really thick almost like carnauba wax that worked really well as well. That’s on my purchase list next time I am at Walmart. Hopefully tomorrow!

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Moose, are you thinking of Carmex? That's a really heavy duty lip balm.

Carmex is great. I actually ended up trying a new chapstick based on reviews online: Lypsyl - Intense Protection. More expensive than alternatives but still reasonable at Walmart for a two pack. All I have to say is: wow! Works GREAT! A combination of going back-and-forth between really hot and cold spaces, and a bone chilling wind working outside all day. This is by far the best Chapstick I’ve ever used. Instant relief to chapped lips. Doesn’t go on thick. And I don’t need to reapply constantly throughout the day. Wish I had discovered this brand along time ago! Highly recommend to anyone.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Wow, Moose!!

You're really 'killin' it over there at Prime!

I'm so excited & happy for ya; bet Turtle & Chief Brody (Rob D.) are as well!!!!!

Keep it up, good sir. Excellent read for future applicants!!

~ Anne ~

ps: Have you tried Burt's Bees instead of Chap Stik? It's better!!!!!

pps: Did you use Daniel B.'s Pretrip, from this site, to help ya study, or does Prime provide adequate materials?

Anne,

Thanks for the reminder about Burts chapstick. there was another one that was sold at ski resorts I worked out in Tahoe that was really thick almost like carnauba wax that worked really well as well. That’s on my purchase list next time I am at Walmart. Hopefully tomorrow!

I need to check out the pre-trip inspection you mentioned. The one that Prime Inc. provides is outstanding. they made it really easy to memorize the entire pre-trip, breaking the whole “elephant“ down into major components and their pieces, and utilizing universal phrases repeatedly (e.g. “Abrasions bulges cuts”, “cracked bent or broken”, “properly mounted and secured”). when I learned pre-trip in California for a municipal bus company there was special phrases for each component making it a much longer and more difficult process. I actually feel like I will be able to perform a high-quality pre-trip inspection given that my pre-trip with Prime Inc. is more of a framework. no complaints by me about Prime Inc. pre-trip. The only thing that I would suggest to the company is that they underlined and put in bold: “you must know the following 100% before you will be allowed to begin backing maneuvers.“ This would save the trainers on the pad a lot of headaches. Unfortunately, some of the students are jumping ahead to backing maneuvers even after being told by the trainers that they need to work on their pre-trip more before proceeding to backing maneuvers. The trainers are all very intelligent guys and it’s fun to pick their brains and learn things about the maneuvers and pre-trip. But they are definitely overwhelmed by all of us students. I’m guessing there are a lot more students being pushed through the process than normal. They appear stressed out. I, and a couple of other students are trying to help out as much as possible by working one-on-one with students who are struggling. Unfortunately, those are the same students that refused to study the 10 page paper that Prime Inc. created.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update! (Part 2 of 2)

Wednesday 11/17 - Another person from my cohort passed Pre-Trip. He was embracing the same philosophy as me learning every detail of the Pre-Trip. Everyone else is slowly learning that they will not be allowed to proceed to the backing maneuvers until they pass with a near 100% success rate on the Pre-Trip. It's becoming apparent that some of the students are grumbling about this. And they seem content to be upset and vocalize their disapproval of being judged so harshly on the Pre-Trip. They signed up to be truck drivers, not truck inspectors. Very slowly, they're starting to learn that this is a major component of being a professional driver. Anything less than a perfect pre-trip inspection increases risk for problems behind the wheel. Having had first-hand experience with a municipal bus company, I understood the importance of knowing the Pre-Trip inside and out. I'm happy to discuss this with any student who will listen and I'm happy to assist them with learning the Pre-Trip and practicing techniques to master each component. It is a lot to swallow. Some of the students, I fear, are not going to get much further here. When offered help, they decline it without consideration and say 'I've got it.' They don't get it. I'm tied up most of the day helping out folks in my cohort with learning their pre-trips. But I get more practice doing another set of Straight Backing maneuvers. I learn a little more each day. The mantra 'less is more' and positioning my arms in such a way to limit big movements of the steering wheel is key to success here.

Thursday 11/18 - The third day, still doing straight backing maneuvers. It's become apparent that the trainers on the pad want to see my cohort go through all exercises in unison. I am being held back at this point, rather than proceeding on to learning offset backing. There's still a good number of students who are struggling with the Pre-Trip. The instructors ask me nicely to assist struggling students with learning their Pre-Trip. I feel bad for the trainers; there are too many of us and not enough of them. They need the herd to move together; a pep-talk to all of us is given to remind us to work as a team and find the weaker students and assist them with their Pre-Trip. If getting the weakest link through Pre-Trip is the key to me moving on to the next backing maneuver, I'm happy to push that student along. The trouble is, it's kind of like leading an animal to water; you can lead them there, but you can't force their head into the water to drink. And if you do, they'll drown. I'm beginning to think that I'll be doing straight backing maneuvers through Thanksgiving. I continue to offer help to anyone who needs it. I'm not really sure why the students who are struggling the most are fighting their peers the most when it comes to learning their pre-trip. I'm continuing to hammer away at Pre-Trip inspections for Lights, Cabin Inspection, and Brake Test.

Friday 11/19 - I'm thrilled that as of today, most of my friends in my cohort have passed or are about to pass the Pre-trip inspection. It's nice to have their company on the pad to reflect on how to perfect backing maneuvers. It was a long day but right before we were about to wrap up, an experienced trucker who was hanging back with the trainers saw how eager I was to learn Off-Set Backing encouraged me into the truck and said he would take the flak if the trainers were upset about me jumping ahead. Finally got my firsthand experience doing offset backing in a truck. I learned today that it's absolutely no different than a successful offset backing on the simulator, except for the arc initially created to pivot the trailer towards the intended backing point. I look forward to hammering away at this particular maneuver over the next few days. I feel redeemed, despite the past week being rather sluggish in terms of new accomplishments. We were told today that we will have Thanksgiving off. My new friends and I are determined to spend the day far away from the hotel and indulge in the various holiday pies.

Addendum:

Temperatures really started to dip this week. A thicker beanie and balaclava is a much-needed item as the winds pick up the temperature drops below freezing. My lips are dry no matter how much chapstick I put on. We all savor the hour and a half lunch in the warm cafeteria and groan a little to ourselves as we step back out into the elements and freeze our collective you-know-what's on the pad.

I expect to have ALL of my pre-trip committed to memory and DMV-test ready no later than next Monday. The Brake test is a major pass-or-fail component. I plan to give this my absolute undivided attention and teach it to as many other students as I can to ensure that I know it by heart.

The timeline for testing is not clear at this point. I get the impression that Prime Inc. is backed up with students and short on trainers -- especially TNT. I'm not personally in a hurry to get through this process. I certainly don't feel rushed through the learning process. It would be cool if the trainers kept students who were quick learners flowing through quickly while allowing others to slowly practice and master the skills. I'm choosing to believe that the company is keeping us on the slow-burner so that we're not held captive for weeks on end waiting for a TNT trainer after passing our CDL drivers test.

Again: sorry for any grammar/spelling errors. Wish this site allowed edits!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update! (Part 2 of 2)

Wednesday 11/17 - Another person from my cohort passed Pre-Trip. He was embracing the same philosophy as me learning every detail of the Pre-Trip. Everyone else is slowly learning that they will not be allowed to proceed to the backing maneuvers until they pass with a near 100% success rate on the Pre-Trip. It's becoming apparent that some of the students are grumbling about this. And they seem content to be upset and vocalize their disapproval of being judged so harshly on the Pre-Trip. They signed up to be truck drivers, not truck inspectors. Very slowly, they're starting to learn that this is a major component of being a professional driver. Anything less than a perfect pre-trip inspection increases risk for problems behind the wheel. Having had first-hand experience with a municipal bus company, I understood the importance of knowing the Pre-Trip inside and out. I'm happy to discuss this with any student who will listen and I'm happy to assist them with learning the Pre-Trip and practicing techniques to master each component. It is a lot to swallow. Some of the students, I fear, are not going to get much further here. When offered help, they decline it without consideration and say 'I've got it.' They don't get it. I'm tied up most of the day helping out folks in my cohort with learning their pre-trips. But I get more practice doing another set of Straight Backing maneuvers. I learn a little more each day. The mantra 'less is more' and positioning my arms in such a way to limit big movements of the steering wheel is key to success here.

Thursday 11/18 - The third day, still doing straight backing maneuvers. It's become apparent that the trainers on the pad want to see my cohort go through all exercises in unison. I am being held back at this point, rather than proceeding on to learning offset backing. There's still a good number of students who are struggling with the Pre-Trip. The instructors ask me nicely to assist struggling students with learning their Pre-Trip. I feel bad for the trainers; there are too many of us and not enough of them. They need the herd to move together; a pep-talk to all of us is given to remind us to work as a team and find the weaker students and assist them with their Pre-Trip. If getting the weakest link through Pre-Trip is the key to me moving on to the next backing maneuver, I'm happy to push that student along. The trouble is, it's kind of like leading an animal to water; you can lead them there, but you can't force their head into the water to drink. And if you do, they'll drown. I'm beginning to think that I'll be doing straight backing maneuvers through Thanksgiving. I continue to offer help to anyone who needs it. I'm not really sure why the students who are struggling the most are fighting their peers the most when it comes to learning their pre-trip. I'm continuing to hammer away at Pre-Trip inspections for Lights, Cabin Inspection, and Brake Test.

Friday 11/19 - I'm thrilled that as of today, most of my friends in my cohort have passed or are about to pass the Pre-trip inspection. It's nice to have their company on the pad to reflect on how to perfect backing maneuvers. It was a long day but right before we were about to wrap up, an experienced trucker who was hanging back with the trainers saw how eager I was to learn Off-Set Backing encouraged me into the truck and said he would take the flak if the trainers were upset about me jumping ahead. Finally got my firsthand experience doing offset backing in a truck. I learned today that it's absolutely no different than a successful offset backing on the simulator, except for the arc initially created to pivot the trailer towards the intended backing point. I look forward to hammering away at this particular maneuver over the next few days. I feel redeemed, despite the past week being rather sluggish in terms of new accomplishments. We were told today that we will have Thanksgiving off. My new friends and I are determined to spend the day far away from the hotel and indulge in the various holiday pies.

Addendum:

Temperatures really started to dip this week. A thicker beanie and balaclava is a much-needed item as the winds pick up the temperature drops below freezing. My lips are dry no matter how much chapstick I put on. We all savor the hour and a half lunch in the warm cafeteria and groan a little to ourselves as we step back out into the elements and freeze our collective you-know-what's on the pad.

I expect to have ALL of my pre-trip committed to memory and DMV-test ready no later than next Monday. The Brake test is a major pass-or-fail component. I plan to give this my absolute undivided attention and teach it to as many other students as I can to ensure that I know it by heart.

The timeline for testing is not clear at this point. I get the impression that Prime Inc. is backed up with students and short on trainers -- especially TNT. I'm not personally in a hurry to get through this process. I certainly don't feel rushed through the learning process. It would be cool if the trainers kept students who were quick learners flowing through quickly while allowing others to slowly practice and master the skills. I'm choosing to believe that the company is keeping us on the slow-burner so that we're not held captive for weeks on end waiting for a TNT trainer after passing our CDL drivers test.

Again: sorry for any grammar/spelling errors. Wish this site allowed edits!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - Flatbed/Reefer - CDL Trainee

Weekly Update! (Part 1 of 2)

Saturday 11/13 - The first half of the day was spent working on our Pre-Trip. I, and a couple of other students have a shared determination to perfect our Pre-Trip inspection for each segment, before moving on to the next. Engine Compartment --> Drivers Door and Fuel Area --> Coupling --> Trailer --> Etc. Eating the elephant one piece at a time. The engine compartment takes the longest, the Drivers' Door and Fuel Area is quite easy, and the Coupling and Trailer are definitely easier than the Engine compartment, but they still introduce some unique terminology in the area of the 5h wheel assembly and sliding tandems. As mentioned in last week's post, I continue to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The two other students I've closely connected with are eager to test one another and make corrections to even the most trivial errors. The remainder of the day involves additional time on the simulators. More driving in the snow and ice. I may have driven off into a snowbank and jack-knifed the semi-tractor. Despite this error, the trainer was pleased with the results because it ultimately resulted in a teaching moment. On the simulator, we can test the 'knife's edge' to determine the point of no return. The lesson is quickly learned: semi's handle extraordinarily differently than passenger vehicles. The first person on the sim usually crashes or kills a deer or otherwise brings the simulation to a dead end. Meanwhile, the rest of the students watch from behind and memorize every pivot point in the simulation. By the time we get to the last person on the sim, they've watched everyone else fail so many times that they are successful in completing it 100%, flawlessly. I think the sim would be a lot more interesting if each student went into it blind. After all, driving a semi in real life is pretty much the same as the first person on the simulator. Everything is new and you have to be proactive to succeed. I think perhaps the closest you can achieve the 'learning' effect is to get away from the pack while driving down the highway and observe the vehicles ahead of you and use them as indicators for dangers/hazards ahead. In essence, they are simulating the environment 8-20 seconds into the future. Of course, this doesn't stop a rogue wind or deer from testing out your driving skills!

Sunday 11/14 - Today is 7 days in a row being in class (we started at 7 am the previous Monday). We're all feeling a bit exhausted and we're told this is the closest we'll have to a 'day off for a bit. The entire day is dedicated to driving on the simulator -- including an off-beat simulation called 'Doom'; a driving scenario that involves traveling through a post-apocalypse city while attempting to avert disaster at every turn, while practicing our ability to maneuver the tractor-trailer through the tightest setups and sharpest turns. It's not a Kobayashi Maru, but it's darn close! Most of us fail. Again, only the students who've had the pleasure of watching and learning every point of failure make it through successfully. Today is a good day to run a load of laundry. As of the time of this writing, only $0.50 a load for wash and dryer ($1.00 for a very full bag of clothes). Much better facilities than back at the hotel. This facility is available to students/employees anytime 24/7. Pretty cool.

Monday 11/15 - We're all feeling a bit tired and groggy at this point. I think some of us are on the verge of getting our second wind. The fact that it's Monday indicates that our body's rhythm should be shifting back to normal. It doesn't. We sluggishly push on through. We're at the point where coffee seems to have less of an effect. I can drink 32 oz of caffeinated coffee right before bed and hit the pillow hard and sleep until my AM alarm goes off. Practice for what's ahead? Maybe! We head out to the training 'pad' (I've been erroneously calling it the tarmac) and continue working on Pre-Trip. Everyone in my cohort begins evaluations today and no one passes. I'm the last person to be tested that day and I manage to successfully pass all sections except Coupling. I told the evaluator that I hadn't had adequate time to prepare for it and requested to be tested on it first thing tomorrow AM. He was absolutely thrilled that I was taking the Pre-Trip inspection paperwork they gave us so seriously, and learning it word-for-word. He commented that I must have a really high IQ -- I think he failed to recognize just how much hard work went into memorizing every piece and component of that Pre-Trip. For the record, I don't think IQ has anything to do with this. It's all about getting a consistent pre-trip that is clean enough that if you were asked to do it when you're half asleep in the middle of the night, you should have no trouble doing it. All my practicing paid off.

Tuesday 11/6 - First thing AM I am tested on the Coupling section I postponed the day before. I made zero mistakes and I was instructed to proceed to Pad 3 to work on backing maneuvers. I'm please because I achieved the goal I set out for myself last Friday. My first attempt at straight backing is a success. I'm just doing exactly what I learned to do on the simulator. The lightweight Cascadia I'm training on has a distinctly different feel, but the techniques are the same. I'm eager to see my new friends in my cohort join me on the backing maneuvers, so I eagerly assist them with learning their pre-trip so they too can pass and move on.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

PSD/Orientation With Prime Inc., Springfield MO

I PASSED EVERYTHING! I got my CDL-A, examiner said I didnt miss a thing and that though my parallel was a little dirty, it was full passing dirty with no points. So Im done with PSD! Now just in my room waiting for a call from the trainer, or the call to go home and wait there.

Thanks everyone for helping me out here, this online training on this forum and your words of encouragement helped me alot!

Nicely done! Congrats. I hope to be writing up a similar post in the next couple of weeks. Have you been told when you'll be attending flatbed Bootcamp? Is your TNT trainer going to be running flatbed? Or did you end up switching divisions? Cheers!

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