Profile For G-Town

G-Town's Info

  • Location:
    Pottstown, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 9 months ago

G-Town's Bio

Retired from a 30 year career in computer technology. Finally realized that it was the journey I really enjoyed and not the destination. So in April of 2012 I fulfilled my lifelong love of trucks and driving by enrolling in Swift's Richmond Academy. Graduated, passed the CDL test, and went OTR for 240 hours with a mentor. Once that was completed, I was re-tested by Swift and offered a job. Overall a great experience. I wish I knew about this website while I was contemplating this as a career and while I was in school. Great information exchange.

Fast forward to the current, I am working for Swift as a dedicated driver assigned to the WALMART account in north central PA. Best job I ever had.

Happy to truthfully answer any questions about Swift and/or my experience in school and training.

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Posted:  1 hour, 1 minute ago

View Topic:

Schneider Pre-Work Screen Keeps Me From Driving for Them

Beating up on Schneider’s orientation helps no one. For me their set up WAS the perfect scenario. I arrived with my CDL in hand and plenty of years of experience in the area of RESPONSIBILITY.

Sorry, but it is a system that works for many. I just think the advice is helpful, and more effective, without the bashing of a company.

I wasn't bashing them.

Read my entire post. Stating that 1 week of driving with a trainer isn't enough before going solo is not bashing. It's my opinion, and nothing will change it.

My point to the OP was everything must be considered.

Posted:  1 hour, 35 minutes ago

View Topic:

Schneider Pre-Work Screen Keeps Me From Driving for Them

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Only one company pays you while going to school; Roehl.

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Acctually, Prime, Jim Palmer and Wil-Trans pay something during training.

CFI pays for everything including food while in school and pays $100.00 for orientation then you are paid 26 CPM while out with your trainer.

School, before getting the CDL? Unless something has changed it's only Roehl. Maybe Rainy can confirm, but I thought Prime advanced money to drivers before getting the CDL.

Every company pays drivers during road training.

Posted:  5 hours, 19 minutes ago

View Topic:

One on one help in backing

Big Scott offers this:

When I was in school with CFI, I had the benefit of working one on one with all three instructors and some of my classmates. I benefited from the different teaching styles.

Let's be clear about something here; the first couple of days I too had one on one with two different instructors either walking back with the truck or instructing what do before walking back with the truck. Grand total of about 30 minutes. Other students got more if necessary but typically not beyond the first couple of days. Errol??? What is the current process?

Was it prolonged or hours or days at a time? No... Provide some context Big Scott; "how much one-on-one did you actually get?

Posted:  8 hours, 9 minutes ago

View Topic:

An Introduction and Appreciation

One of the main things I', worried about is that a large number of them require positive references from previous employers and none of my previous employers are allowed to give professional references based on company policy.

Welcome to the forum Thomas.

Do not worry about the above; all they require is employment verification.

If you haven't already invest some time in the TT blog section; found in the menu bars upper top/left.

Good luck.

Posted:  10 hours, 12 minutes ago

View Topic:

Schneider Pre-Work Screen Keeps Me From Driving for Them

One week of training. Yup, that'll effectively prepare you for solo driving. Not even close. Don't get me wrong, Schneider is a great company, but one week of road training woefully prepares a driver for this job. Most companies well equipped to train entry level drivers, road train anywhere from 1-3 months.

But that is what Schneider does, i went to their orientation, first 5 days paperwork, DOT physical, their physical test, some road driving, a final road test on Thursday or Friday to see if you are good to go with your trainer the following week. Week 2, you go with your trainer some dedicated, regional account are possibilities, i was on a Lowes Dedicated accout and drove 1252 miles that week and was back at the hotel on Friday afternoon of the second week. The 3rd weeks was log books, trip planning, some simulator stuff and then your final road test to get you your own truck. The end of the 3rd week, I was headed home on Saturday with my first load 43,000 lbs and on my own.

I know that's what they do. Exactly my point. Glad it worked out for you though.

Like I said, IMO 1 week of supervised driving is not enough. Others may think otherwise and that's totally fine. That's why it's important to fully understand the bigger picture, upside and also downside.

Sink or swim...

Posted:  11 hours, 47 minutes ago

View Topic:

Schneider Pre-Work Screen Keeps Me From Driving for Them

It's the ideal situation: they pay for school and you sign on for only 6 months; paid orientation for 3 weeks; only 1 week with a trainer on the road; regional job with gaurenteed salary of $47,000/yr.

Ideal? How do you really know?

Only one company pays you while going to school; Roehl.

There are no guarantees in trucking, especially the first year. Huge, very steep learning curve that has about a 90% attrition rate. How can they guarantee 47k? They can't. This job is totally performance based. Most carriers pay cents per mile (CPM), stop pay, and other possible incidentals. They all guarantee you get a fair and equal opportunity to prove yourself and provide you with the tools to needed to succeed.

One week of training. Yup, that'll effectively prepare you for solo driving. Not even close. Don't get me wrong, Schneider is a great company, but one week of road training woefully prepares a driver for this job. Most companies well equipped to train entry level drivers, road train anywhere from 1-3 months.

And here is the thing; a one year commitment is nothing. We highly recommend sticking with your first company for at least a year. It will take at that long to develop adequate skills, safe driving habits and intuitive situational awareness necessary to be a top performer.

I went to Swift's Driving Academy in Richmond, road trained with a mentor for 240 hours of accumulated driving time. Great experience. Even with that, It barely scratched the surface of how-to perform at a satisfactory level of safety and performance.

I could go on, but I think you have enough to chew on for now.

Invest some quality time reviewing the links Big Scott sent; re-evaluate your expectations and build a realistic and accurate knowledge base.

Good luck!

Posted:  12 hours, 35 minutes ago

View Topic:

Braking while turning

The simple answer to the question in your subject line is "no", you should not be braking through a turn.

By the time you begin making the turn, the truck should be under control and moving at a safe speed. Which means in a manual you should be in a gear no higher than 3rd.

Although I agree with the others to relax, don't overly stress over it, there is a lesson, a take-away from what you experienced. It's preparation and having a plan before reaching the intersection. Be prepared to stop and/or slow down before reaching any intersection, off-ramp or stop sign.

Try to get in the habit of planning your moves in the truck before you actually need to execute them.

Nerves...don't let them get the best of you. Good luck!

Posted:  12 hours, 48 minutes ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Swift or PAM?

They (Schneider) seem to have the best pay starting out and I like what I've seen/heard from the school (160 Driving Academy). The person in the office at the school who I talked with and is handling all the paperwork has also been pushing me towards Schneider (whether she actually thinks that's the best fit for me or because they get some sort of extra compensation compared to me choosing Swift remains to be seen).

A few thoughts here:

The school; all of the schools main purpose is to teach you just enough to pass the CDL. That's pretty much it.

The individual influencing (pushing) you to go to Schneider is likely getting a better finders fee than what Swift or PAM pays. What does she really know about all three choices? Schneider is a great company no doubt, however you might ask why she believes they are a better fit for you. I also suggest asking her how Schneider's road training compares to Swift and PAM. IMO, unless something has changed Schneider's road training is about one week, Swift is 200 hours. Not sure about PAM.

The pay...rookie pay between companies does vary, but not enough to make a significant difference. No matter who you work for, 40k for the first year is a reasonable expectation.

Try to look at the bigger picture with these three companies and don't let the financially motivated opinion of someone influence your decision. Use her for gaining accurate and objective information.

Use this link to review your three choices and many, many others:

Trucking Company Reviews

Good luck!

Posted:  1 day, 3 hours ago

View Topic:

One on one help in backing

A different thought process...backing is the bane of most student's existence. Many do not approach it correctly. STJ your thinking is slightly flawed. One on one might help, but it still comes down to you.

All of the schools teach and instruct just enough for a student to pass the CDL A. That's it. Nothing more. If a school states otherwise, call BS and move on.

Once they teach, instruct on thevbasics of backing; setting up, reference points, and turning left to go right/ right to go left,...what else is there? Hours/days of one-on-one won't change that approach or likely the outcome. Other than critiquing and occasional up-close guidance...a student is left alone. And they should be.

Learning how to back is 80% on you;... the student to practice and observe; applying yourself to work it out and figure it out on your own. If they see a student putting forth effort, focusing and paying attention to the attempts of others, they (the instructors) will usually offer assistance and help get you through the rough spots. They attend to those putting forth a superior effort, and much less on anything less than that. Especially true for Paid CDL Training Programs. But extended periods of one-on-one? Not gonna happen.

Practice, repetition, effort, and focus are the great equalizers when learning how to back. Always looking for opportunities to practice. No substitutes.

It took me the better part of 6 months before I was slightly adequate. Considering 3 of those first 6 months was Walmart Dedicated (averaging 5 close-quarter backs per day), that equates to roughly 500 attempts just to become that, adequate.

After 1 year and about 1200 or so backing attempts, reasonable proficiency was achieved. The only reason I was able to get to that level was repetition and focus. I became a student of the skill purely because of the frequency of it. I had no choice but to embrace it as a very important part of the job that maximizes my earning potential. Reality. Same reality a student must embrace at school.

In short I never gave-up when I was in school learning how to back. Same thing for every driver on this forum, they too never gave up. You must be tenacious, like a bulldog and motivated to rise above the difficulty of this.

Otherwise...just another statistic validating the 85-90% rate of failure. Be the other 10-15%, be the bulldog when learning how to back.

Good luck!

Posted:  1 day, 5 hours ago

View Topic:

Descending steep downgrades in an automatic

Apparently I’m still learning or my engine’s compression isn’t as strong as in the condos. This learning curve is no joke though!

I go between LWs and full condo; the motor is lighter in the LW, lighter/smaller pistons...less mass available for retarding the momentum of the truck.

Be careful. You'll get it.

Posted:  1 day, 10 hours ago

View Topic:

CFI at Crowder College

Glad things are progressing well for you Don. Best of luck for success!

Posted:  1 day, 10 hours ago

View Topic:

Descending steep downgrades in an automatic

Plan B had an experience...

Early on in my team training phase during winter I was decending one of the hills on I-80 in Wyoming and manually using light engine brake when the tires broke traction and the truck started jackknifing. I killed the engine brake and managed to counter steer and got the truck straight again. Went down the rest of the hill at 10-15mph using intermittent service brake only.

Bumping this post. Glad this turned out okay Plan B.

Even "light" Jake in snow can cause things to go wrong, very quick.

Posted:  1 day, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

Putting the Wheels in Motion but are these Hiccups Roadblocks?

Welcome to the forum.

I suggest doing your homework on the FMCSA guidelines for heart attacks and stents. Having a consult with your cardiologist is also advisable. There is lots of material on the subject...

Here is one example:

CDL Medical Exam- Heart Attack Giudelines

Use Google to assist with your research. The process to get medically certified might take you longer, but I believe if you follow instructions, work with your Docs so you are well prepared for your exam you should be good to go.

Best of luck!

Posted:  2 days, 8 hours ago

View Topic:

Descending steep downgrades in an automatic

Diver Driver wrote:

Your Jakes are most effective at higher RPMs 20k is normal. I know it sounds like the engine is gonna explode, but before it gets too serious, the truck will tell you to lower your rpms.

You have 2 options.

1) engage your Jake's and start down the hill. Once you get to your safe speed, engage the cruise. Your Jakes will try to keep you at our below that speed.

2) start down the hill and engage your Jake's. ALWAYS start at level 1 and go up. Don't just slap them on to level 3.

As your speed decreases, let off a level of Jake, until you start to pickup speed again. If level 3 of the Jake won't hold or slow you enogh, apply firm brake pressure for approx 3 seconds, and release. And I mean firm. By 3 seconds you should slow down approx. 10 mph. The truck may even drop a gear, and the rpms will jump up. (Don't worry about that)

In the winter, it is a judgment call. If the weather is so bad that you can't use Jake's, you may want to consider shutting down. If you can't, just remember to keep it slow. It's easier to slow a slow truck, than to slow a fast truck. As far as the other drivers flying by, drive your own truck, don't just them get under your skin. Put on your flashers, and take the hill at YOUR COMFORT LEVEL.

Above is totally, 100% spot-on!

Splitter don't fret when the R's approach 2000...you're not going to break your motor at that level.

Diver's description of alternating the Jake between medium and high is very good advice.

Posted:  2 days, 12 hours ago

View Topic:

Need help getting started

Posted:  2 days, 12 hours ago

View Topic:

Non ticketed accident

Never lie on a job application. Tell the truth providing only what is required, nothing more.

Use this link to research your options:

Paid CDL Training Programs

And this one for launching multiple applications:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

Good luck.

Posted:  3 days, 3 hours ago

View Topic:

Schneider, Swift or PAM?

Tim, you have some good options available to you. Although I understand Prime was at the top of your list, Swift is also an excellent choice.

I trained with Swift at their Richmond Academy over 5 years ago and continue driving for them assigned to a Dedicated Walmart account in the Northeast region. The opportunities with Swift are numerous and varied. No regrets, if I had it to do over, I'd retrace the exact same path.

There are several Swift drivers on the forum. Don't hesitate to ask questions about their training, mentoring program and career opportunities.

Good luck to you.

Posted:  4 days, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

WHY DO CSR DO THIS ?

Well the thing is I didn’t accept the load some one committed the load for me. I didn’t realize it was on me. :/ but the other factor that went into my lost of time was traffic was backed up because of an accident in the middle of the road :(

Rather surprised to hear that.

Swift sends pre-plans to the driver's QC. How did you not know they put you on the load? Even if you DL accepted/committed you on it, it would have come across your QC at least once.

Posted:  4 days, 11 hours ago

View Topic:

What should i do

Its OK.... but my previous exp. Is driving, hauling equipment up down the interstates from ohio down to florida and everywhere in between. Its what ive done since 07. I love driving, its what ive been doing. I do not currently have a cdl.

A bit confused here..."it's" (truck driving) what you've been doing since "07, yet you let your CDL lapse. You loved it, yet you stopped. "Conflicted" best describes your post. If the reason for stopping still exists (even a little bit), that might be the best place to start in helping you make this decision.

That said, no one here can give you the answer you are looking for. I definitely agree with Big Scott's point about your children; their lives will be adversly effected if you go back on the road. The value and importance of your family relationships and your ability to balance that with a Truckers life is the key to making the right decision.

Good luck.

Posted:  5 days, 3 hours ago

View Topic:

May I please have some advice?

G-Town giving me mixed messages! lol

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We never recommend starting with a company with the intent of moving on after only 3-6 months. It's highly recommended to commit to your first company for at least one year.

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But then:

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Get 6 months of OTR experience then look at tanker.

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Just teasing, you did follow up with

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If you choose a company like Prime or Schneider, you may have the option of moving into a tanker job once you have some experience.

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so its only SORT of confusing! :)

Just wanted to give you a hard time, you do great work around here - keep it up!

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse. To clarify; move to a tanker job available within the same company.

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