Profile For Michael C.

Michael C.'s Info

  • Location:
    IL

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 9 months ago

Michael C.'s Bio

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Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Nervous driving with my trainer!

Hello, I just started a truck driving program and my trainer and I aren't getting along very well. The on yard week was filled with me driving around trying to learn to do stuff on my own because he was sleeping or on his phone. I'm nervous about driving the truck because I'm new at it and I don't feel very comfortable about driving in the city with him if he doesn't care about my training. He has also already set up my cdl test for this week and I will only have 12 hours of road time by that point. How can I learn everything I need to know in 12 hours?!? Any suggestions or advice?

Bad trainers, or it seems in your case, instructor's, suck. Unfortunately they're out there, most of them just for the extra $$$. When I went through company sponsored CDL training I was there for ~4 weeks. From day 1 getting my CLP to the day I tested and got my CDL I might have had at most, 6 hours of actual road-time driving. That being said I knew going in that this was going to be a sink or swim program, pushing ~30 people a week into a program isn't smart business in my opinion, but it isn't my decision. The first day I started driving at the yard and practicing backing was the end of week 1 after I got my CLP. I don't consider myself extremely intelligent but I made it a point from the beginning to soak up as much info from each instructor at the yard that I could. That helped immensely, I sifted through all of the information they gave me(some good, some bad) and found what worked best for me. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, take it one step at a time and if you don't feel safe with that instructor, speak up and talk to someone above them.

TL;DR - 1. Speak up to that instructor or go to the next link in the chain if they aren't instructing/helping you. 2. Focus on soaking up any information possible. 3. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, breathe and focus on the task at hand.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Plan on starting prime soon

Also quick question for all the primates on here. Do they pay for your truck washes and trailer wash outs or is that something you have to pay for yourself

Iirc, Prime pays for 1 truck wash a month and however many trailer washouts you require for loads. Unless things have changed with the truck wash its the "basic" wash. If you want the undercarriage/frame washed with their coating wash it's out of pocket.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Coast to coast solo?

When I was pulling Prime trailers with the company I trained at I went coast to coast twice in that month, also hit 42/48 states in that time. I'm sure it also helped my trainer lived in CA. But yes, I'd say it's definitely possible.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

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First trip to far northeast. Advice?

I've only been to the NE 1 time. The only advice I can give is, if your not delivering in NYC, avoid at all cost(just my opinion). The other piece of advice is park early. Once you get past PA, if you don't park early finding a parking spot makes finding a needle in a haystack look easy.

TL:DR - 1. Avoid NYC if you can. 2. Park early as you can.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

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Are any of the truck driving sims on the market for PC very realistic?

As far as simulators go, if you got the $ you can make a pretty realistic setup (flight, racing, driving sims). As far as driving simulators ATS is the "newest", I find it pretty decent. They have weigh stations, "CAT scales" near fuel stops. They even added a more "realistic" system when hooking up to a trailer where you can miss the king-pin. However, I think it'll be a while before they can simulate jumping the king-pin over the fifth-wheel. For about $600 or so you can have a pretty realistic setup with wheel/pedals/shifter. There is also a newly made shifter that makes it more realistic for truck sims. It basically turns the standard shifter into a 10 or 18-speed shifter(http://csio.tech/).

There are also mods for it that you can download that gives you the whole country to run.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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If you could pinpoint one area in the U.S, do you have a favorite place you enjoy driving through?

Hands down I84 between Hermiston and Portland in Oregon in the springtime. Specifically around sunrise, the scenery along the columbia river is amazing.

Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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New record (for me anyways)

Sounds like a good day for making money. Albeit a tiresome one. Longest single day run I've had was 683.8miles in 10hours 58 min on the clock governed at 63 as well.. Made it from Nashville to Dallas. Just in time to get the last open spot at the pilot. Construction through memphis, little rock and texarkana just about ruined my plan A that day.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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How about a teamspeak server?

TS would be cool, but I think Discord would be easier. It's more of an IM'ing program with voice built in if wanted. Can be accessed by PC or smart-phone.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Help a rookie do and donts

In my short length of experience that I've been driving, Here's the biggest DO and DON"T I can give.

DO- GOAL, without a doubt if you're not sure, get out and look. Don't leave it to "I think I got it".

DON'T- The biggest mistake I've seen other people make, that I'm guilty of as well is, being in a hurry. If you do a quick youtube search of trucking accidents, especially those at yards and truck stops, majority are caused by the driver being in a hurry. "Ahh, there is a spot, I got this, swing around at 15mph not looking in your mirrors and then boom, you tear off the front end of the neighboring truck or trailer". As much as you need to get to your destination, take your time, especially in heavy traffic, people WILL cut you off. If you leave room, 4-wheelers will take the spot. If you leave no room, they'll still take it. Biggest difference is that you have more time to react and adjust accordingly.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Eastern Regional

I LIVE IN NEW YORK IN I CHOOSE TO DO DEDICATED EAST REGIONAL WHICH STATES DO THAT INCLUDE

Why are you yelling?

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Metro pcs on the road

I've had vzw while I was training and got T-Mobile for their unlimited once I upgraded and it worked just fine for me. From Pennsylvania to Texas and Minnesota to Georgia and all in between, I only had a couple of locations where I didn't have signal for Netflix. Those areas were way out in the sticks by seadrift Texas.

Posted:  2 years, 11 months ago

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Can you become a truck driver if you are scared to drive a giant trailer rig?

I'm sure it varies by person on how long it takes to become somewhat comfortable driving a big rig. For me, it took just a couple of weeks with my trainer to get used to it. Some trainers will slowly ease you into things whereas my trainer said "your gonna have to do it one day, might as well start right now". Given he was a nice enough trainer that I could wake him if I felt I needed him and not get an earful as to why I did. By the time I upgraded to solo driver (5 weeks total with 1 week off for christmas), I could flip that truck around and get into some tight spots that I would have originally not even attempted when I started.

I'm from a small town and my first major challenge came on day 2, Atlanta rush hour traffic. That was a little nerve wracking but just keep watching your mirrors for all of the bad 4-wheel drivers (there are A LOT of them). About a week in I got my biggest challenge for traffic, Los Angeles, afternoon/evening rush hour. I've been to 42/48 CONUS states and so far California drivers are the worst in my opinion. You WILL be cut off left and right, people will drive on the right shoulder to get around you and then slam on their brakes.

The best advice I can give is to keep breathing and just focus as hard as you can on your mirrors and in front of you, eventually you'll know where your trailer is, especially with corners. On off-ramps my trainer told me once you get comfortable you'll have your trailer tandems almost on that white line without trying or looking. Sure enough, I can and do, but I definitely still watch in my mirrors just to be safe.

Oh, don't do like I did, I trained in a 2016 Freightliner and upgraded into a 2012 Kenworth T660. It's about 2 feet longer and takes longer to spin around under trailer.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Struggling with log book

I know you can only drive 11 hrs, with 10 hrs of sleeper berth and 3 hrs of breaks ect. How can I maximize my drive time? Also it says you have to have a 34 hr reset for every 7 to 8 days, but I want to drive for several weeks at a time. How do I get around that? I'm an owner operator btw and thanks for any advice

In my short time being OTR so far, best way to maximize drive-time that I've found is keep your rear in the seat and the wheels turning. Avoid stopping for minor things, I always kept something within arms reach to drink or snack on. Most miles I've done in one day since upgrading was 683 in 10h 58m. I pulled into the pilot and got lucky to get the last spot, I wouldn't suggest pushing it that far though it is kind of nerve racking, especially if your near a major city.

As far as the 34h reset, if your able to manage your 70 hour clock right you may never have to take a reset. My first month out I didn't "have" to take a reset but I had a couple of resets in due to waiting for my next load within that month. If you can drive around 9 hours a day you shouldn't run out of time before you start gaining hours back from your recap.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm just wondering how you can be a O/O and not be solid on managing HOS. If you have any other questions I'll be more than happy to answer what I can.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Thinking of relocating soon.

I live in Chicago IL, and i am considering getting my CDL. Although my plans are to move to Houston in the next year or two. What is the difference between a Illinois CDL to a Texas CDL? Is it even worth getting the license here in Chicago? THANKS.

Honestly, I thought the Illinois cdl was almost too easy. In some states you have to go under the hood and explain everything but in Illinois odds are you wont. I'm not sure how Texas does it though.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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CDL Permit Testing

Thanks! I appreciate it! When I did a tour of the school I was able to climb into a truck and sit in the driver's seat. First time I've ever been in a truck. I'm usually pretty confident in my ability to learn quickly, and figured so many people drive trucks surely I can as well. But those 3 minutes in the seat knocked my bravado (and confidence) down a few notches. Hahahaha

It's definitely a completely different animal than driving a car or even a regular pick up truck. Just remember that you will have bad days at backing. I think of myself as a quick learner as well, but I was humbled when I started practicing my parallel, I got my straight and offset backing with no problems, but it took me 2 weeks to get comfortable with a parallel.

It's all about your setup when it comes to backing.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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CDL Permit Testing

I'm taking the permit test on my own before I start CDL schooling here where I live. They don't require it, but recommended it as a leg up, and will free up almost 1 additional week for driving instead of studying and testing for the permit. I'm hoping that after I obtain my full CDL license I'll head to Prime and complete training there.

That is a bonus, I was going to do the same but I just ran out of time and didn't feel comfortable testing yet.

Best of luck on your tests and schooling. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a PM or post on the forums for sure. The pre-trip and backing are still fairly fresh in my brain as I got my CDL on Nov 19th.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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CDL Permit Testing

It looks as though nothing past Combination Vehicles is going to be needed for the permit?

For me it wasn't, I'm not entirely sure if VA is different though I would think if you can get the standard 3 down you'll be just fine. The High Road Training definitely helped me but since your down to crunch time I would focus on the three (GK,combo,air). General Knowledge was the biggest test I took, it had ~40 questions, air brakes had ~25 and combo had ~20. Illinois has a skip function you can use when taking the test, but there is also a chance they could come back around towards the end if it's a smaller test. I ended up with a 94/92/100(missed a $50 bonus for high score by 2 questions LOL) on mine, I'm sure you'll be just fine, don't sweat it too much just keep studying until game day.

Are you taking the CLP test on your own or with a company? I did mine with company sponsored training and we had computers at the hotel with practice tests on them that helped immensely on top of the tests here.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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CDL Permit Testing

I'm going to go take my CDL Permit test in VA next week. I've done excellently on the online general knowledge test, but I was wondering if anyone on here knows if I will be tested on air brakes, combo, and/or hazmat info. I've been all over the VA DMV site and I can't find anything conclusive, only what I'll need for the actual CDL written test, and none of the online test prep and mock tests had anything with air brakes, hazmat, etc. in relation to the permit test.

Just wondered if anyone here had gotten a CDL permit from VA and can tell me if I need to study anything else.

If it is anything like the Illinois CLP test, its just general knowledge, air brakes, and combination required for it. Hazmat is an additional endorsement you can get if you choose to.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Waiting for a trainer

Hmm, well at least it isn't all in 1 lump sum. I probably heard it but as you know there was A LOT of information thrown at us. I will keep that in mind if I decide to go elsewhere, but I hope it doesn't come to that.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Waiting for a trainer

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Out of the companies I have contacted so far they have offered the tuition reimbursement of around 3500, which sucks because the contract for Henderson's school is about 4600 without the 12.5% interest.

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Have you tried to contact Prime? That would be a good way to go since they and Henderson are connected.

Ernie

They were on my list of companies to contact if this went too long. So far I've talked to Jim Palmer, they offer up to 3500 for tuition reimbursement, Prime I think is only around 1500 I think. I'm not 100% sure but I think if you cancel on the contract and they charge you the amount they expect it in 1 payment instead of over time as it would be if I stay. My thing is right now I don't have ~5k to pay it back all at once.

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