Profile For Barry Y. ( Watchd0g)

Barry Y. ( Watchd0g)'s Info

  • Location:
    Burgettstown, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 10 months ago

Barry Y. ( Watchd0g)'s Bio

Owner/Op with Swift.

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Posted:  3 years ago

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One thing

I miss the dry and cold mountain air. This hot humid air is not for me. I don't know if I'm sweating or if it's the humidity and to top it all off I'm still getting complaints about my idling Cold mountain air I miss you, until you start snowing.

Quit Idling... LOL. Yea Swift likes to send those messages. I usually reply to them with a message saying install APUs.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Thank you

I would like to thank all the members of this forum for helping me make the life changing decision. last year I was laid off, and thought about trucking. I used this forum nightly to dig deep into the world of trucking. I made up my mind and went to a local school, got my cdl, and off I went to SWIFT. Best decision of my life. I love it.

But, without the research I did on this sight, I think it could have held a lot surprises I may not have been ready for.

Time out on the road, time away from family etc. I was well aware of this because of this site. I prepared my wife and myself, and things are good.

last time out it was 8 weeks, a bit long, but as I said, I knew this could happen. To anyone thinking of a becoming a trucker, I highly recommend spending a month or two on this site to read the stories and advice of all the great members to know exactly what you are getting into. Thx TT members.

A happy trucker

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Testing tomorrow (Monday) at noon...

I am off to Schneider training in Carlisle, Pa on the 23rd. Well, I have to report on the 22nd. I guess now I get to learn the phase 2 stuff like hooking up the trailers, docking etc. I am happy that they run the same 10 speeds I learned in.

Hopefully I get through this next test and start trucking soon.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Is Parallel Parking Absolutely Mandatory for Texas CDL Skills Test?

Thanks very much for the replies guys! From what you are saying, it sounds as if I can pass the test even if I am not successful with the parallel parking. I will be practicing parallel parking this afternoon, and my test is next Tuesday. I feel comfortable with everything else, so it sounds like I can pull it off. That said, if for no other reason than my pride, I really want to successfully and completely parallel park on the test.

I am not looking for an over the road job. I am about to retire and I will sometimes be helping a friend of mine do dirt work and small construction site prep. Between he, I and a third friend we have various pieces of equipment from small dozers to back hoes. I just want to be legal for moving this stuff around. I have some other things going that would make it good to have a car hauler. Nothing too big, but enough to haul a couple of one ton crew cabs.

In my early years, I drove a five ton tractor with a large radar trailing behind while in the Army and worked as a mechanic in a big truck shop for a while after I got out of the Army and moved stuff around the yard and road tested. I'm certainly not an experienced OTR driver, but I am not a rank beginner either.

Thanks again for the quick, friendly and useful responses.

I will be hanging out here and will report my test results.

Larry

I am not sure about Texas, but I believe they have standardized the tests in all 50 states. In Pa, you do 3 tests. Pre-trip inspection including air brakes, Skills Tests (straight line backing and parallel), and then the drive test. In Pa it is in that order, and you can not move on to the next test until you pass the current.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Truck Fleets with automatics transmissions

I am currently being recruited by Schneider, and they have stated that they are switching over to automatics and currently 1/2 their fleet is automatic. The other half is 10 speeds. I would prefer a 10 speed as that's what I learned in at school and I don't want to lose those skills.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Passed

Gratz man

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Testing tomorrow (Monday) at noon...

Woohoo, I passed it. I was nervous as heck, but calmed down once I started the skills test.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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CDL school, what's good, what's not

When you pay $5000 for CDL school, what do you consider acceptable as far as how many students per truck/per trainer, how many times you get to go out to drive on the road, often times short on trainers (therefor ending up with one or two trainers having to split themselves up), students from previous classes who show up to hog the trucks because "I'm testing out tomorrow and need practice", leaving you and the other two students standing there waiting to start practicing....I mean, we paid a lot of money to attend classes, the trucks and instructors should be available to our class, no?

Our group only goes on the weekends because we all have jobs or other obligations. Going 5 days in between is already enough time that went by, sometimes it makes it a bit difficult to remember what you've learned the weekend before. There's an average of 3-4 students per truck already. We take turns.

Just curious.

My school was FT M-F - 8am-4 pm. We had 8 students in our class split in 2 trucks. I got lucky, my truck had one guy with previous experience, and he tested and passed after week 1 of driving, leaving us with tree students. So I was getting 2-3 hours a day. Doing weekends only has to be rough, with out the repetition I doubt I would feel confident about testing tomorrow.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Testing tomorrow (Monday) at noon...

Hi all, I am testing tomorrow at noon. I have been dwelling on this all weekend long. I am not worried about the pre-trip/airbrake test, not the road test. Straight line backing? no problem. Setting up for the parallel park, that is my issue. I suck at that part. Once straight , I can do the parallel with ease, but I suck at the set up. I have a hard time getting the truck straight. My last ditch idea is to do a forward parallel park maneuver after I do the straight line back. I am hoping that will get me close to straight in the far left lane. My plan; back up a bit after the straight line back part, then do the forward parallel and hope I have enough room to get straightened out...

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Drive Test

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Not sure about NC, but I believe here in PA it goes along these lines>

Pre trip inspection: call out what you are looking at, what you are looking for , and why. (cracks, missing bolts, leaks, bad hoses etc.)

Skills test. Backing and parallel parking.

Drive the course. On course the instructor will have you do an emergency pull off (placing your triangles), a down hill maneuver with flashers, and probably a rail road crossing. Make sure you are looking (not just mentioning it) at all intersections in all directions, slow and put on flashers at rail road crossings while looking both ways before, during and in the mirrors as your trailer passed over. pay attention to any signs, he may ask you what they said. Truck weight limits, bridge clearance signs etc.

don't hit a curb, don't stall and don't violate the other lanes.

My course has a few tricky areas. One spot is a 2 lane undivided sharp bend, you need to hit the flashers and stop if needed, because you do indeed have to violate the other lane to stay off the side walk on the right. So to sum it up, find out what course they use on the road , and learn it, practice it, and dream about it.

Ok, I'm going to remember everything you said and I'm be prepared for that...i don't how I can get the test route though, that would sure help out a lot ...I'm keep digging and see what else I can find...but thanks for taking the time to write a reply...

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It may take a bit of time, but maybe go sit at the DMV and then try to follow someone testing.

I got lucky, the school I go to also does most of the testing for the region, so my instructor's know the course and know the tester.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Drive Test

Not sure about NC, but I believe here in PA it goes along these lines>

Pre trip inspection: call out what you are looking at, what you are looking for , and why. (cracks, missing bolts, leaks, bad hoses etc.)

Skills test. Backing and parallel parking.

Drive the course. On course the instructor will have you do an emergency pull off (placing your triangles), a down hill maneuver with flashers, and probably a rail road crossing. Make sure you are looking (not just mentioning it) at all intersections in all directions, slow and put on flashers at rail road crossings while looking both ways before, during and in the mirrors as your trailer passed over. pay attention to any signs, he may ask you what they said. Truck weight limits, bridge clearance signs etc.

don't hit a curb, don't stall and don't violate the other lanes.

My course has a few tricky areas. One spot is a 2 lane undivided sharp bend, you need to hit the flashers and stop if needed, because you do indeed have to violate the other lane to stay off the side walk on the right. So to sum it up, find out what course they use on the road , and learn it, practice it, and dream about it.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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The sad realization of my CDL school

I've been going to CDL school for one month now. It's a weekends-only program, 8am - 4pm Saturday and Sunday with an hour break for lunch. In that time we have had ZERO class time, and I get in the yard truck time for straight backing about twice each day. I have time to do two straight backing maneuvers before I have to give someone else the truck. I also get one 15 minute driving opportunity each weekend since I got my permit (last weekend).

The problem is that the school only has one truck that is legally allowed to leave the yard, and one truck in the yard to practice backing and parallel parking maneuvers. There are also only 3 instructors that work at the school at any given time it seems. Right now the weekends are full of "graduated" students who are there for "practice" for the pretrip, backing, parallel parking, and driving they will need for the CDL test. Compound that with the problem that after you "graduate" it can take up to 2 months to get scheduled for the CDL test with the DMV.

So as you can see, all the time my classmate and I should have in the classroom doesn't happen because our instructor has to be in the yard while students are using the truck, which leaves us standing in the yard the entire day doing pretty much nothing. (I was using this time to study for the permit test and now the pretrip inspection.) All the truck time my classmate and I should have is taken up by about 15 other people that need to "practice" on the weekends so they don't lose the skills they just learned prior to their scheduled CDL test.

I'm not concerned with the cost I've fronted for this schooling. (About $6000 after interest is figured on the signature loan I signed.) What I AM concerned about is that the rate at which these other "graduates" are failing their skills tests, I'll likely be on the same path to failing because it's obvious I won't have nearly enough time in the truck to master the skills I need. So I'm figuring this schooling is pretty much a waste of time.

I talked with my instructor, who is super cool. The suggestion that was made was this: After I complete their program, he recommends not being scheduled for the CDL test at the DMV and contacting Prime and starting my training with them from the bottom of the totem pole (PSD), because really that's what I'll need in order to pass the CDL test. One driving instructor at the school (which I've only seen once or twice) used to work for Prime and told me how awesome they were as a company and gave me the direct contact information to an in-house recruitment guy, bypassing the 800 number recruitment salespeople.

So, it looks like this is what I'll have to do. I can't head to Prime prior to the end of February because I have plans on the last weekend of February that cannot be changed. I'm pretty bummed and I wish I had heeded my first instinct to just go to Prime from the outset. Expensive lesson to have learned, but at least I still have some options. And, at least I have my DOT physical card and permit (which is valid until July) so I'm at least two steps ahead of the game when it comes to new students there.

Wish me luck. Rainy D, I'll likely be PMing you in a bit. Right now I'm off to get tattooed by my good buddy, the world famous Bob Tyrrell, who conveniently happens to be in town for a tattoo convention. I have zero guilt about missing a day of class, because, well, what exactly would I be missing, right?

Wow. Just wow. I thought I had it rough at my school with 8 people split in 2 trucks. We get about 40-50 mins each day driving. a bit in the morning and a bit after lunch. My instructors last day was Friday, but he came in Saturday to work with some of us because we lost a day last week due to snow. We get a new instructor Monday. He has been riding with us to learn the course. The new guy is cool, but not as relaxed as the other one. I guess he is probably nervous too, being new to the job. He does know his ****, and I think we will be fine. The other thing we did that was cool, was to have 2 guys stay home Friday, the other guy and I will stay home Monday. So Friday I got a lot of drive time. I hope we continue that over the next 3 weeks.

Doing week ends only has to be rough, how the heck do you your timing down on shifting?

I have already thought along the lines you are thinking about, if I fail, hopefully I can get in with swift or crst and try again. Hopefully it doesn't come down to that, I went to this school to avoid the long OTR contracts the big schools have.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Having a cat in the truck

So far, the couple of companies that have caught my attention have a strict no pet policy... Schneider/TMC

Also UPS, but as they have you home daily, not an issue.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Bruises behind the knees because of the seat?

I find myself ending up with some nasty bruises after a weekend spent in trucking school; I wonder if it's because of the seat. I have to move my seat forward and literally squeeze myself between the steering wheel and my seat in order to be able to press the clutch all the way down.

The bruises I end up having are the size of medium pickle right below the crease of the back of my knee, and are dark purple/blue/black. :(

Hi Vamp, Being a short dude myself, 5'5" I found I had to pull the seat all the way up (maybe one click back), and lower the seat down a lot. Its funny when I have to swap seats with a class mate after I drive ( I am the smallest guy in class at 150 lbs.), because when they jump in after my drive time, they sink that seat to the floor :-).

It does seem we loose some visibility when we lower the seat, but we need the balls of feet on the floor.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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I am stalling the truck from standstill

Hi Guys, I just completed my 2nd week (week one was class room for permit prep) of training and I have developed a bad habit of stalling the truck when trying to move from a standstill. A sure fail on the test.

I am in a 2006 international 10 speed. The instructors have us start in 4th as we have empty trailers. Early in the week I was hitting it fine, but all the sudden, I am stalling the truck about 50 % of the time now when starting out from a stop. I think this started right after my first drift back, thus making me make damned sure I am hard on the brake at any stop. Now I just don't seem to be getting off the clutch and brake smooth, I panic, hit the gas and stall... I stalled her 3 times in a row today.

Any advice for a now spooked new driver?

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Did my DOT physical today

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You do a DOT physical for school. You do a drug testing and most likely another physical when a company wants to hire you.

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I had to drug test for school. Not sure if this is common or not but they wouldn't let you operate a semi on the public roadway without one, probably for insurance reasons.

Phil

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Yeah, I've seen some schools say they require drug testing, and from the research I've done, it's been stated several places that the DOT physical needed for school has a UA test.

You need the Physical to get your permit from DOT. That's a requirement to take the written tests. Also, DOT (PA anyways) is now requiring (as of 12/21/2015) that you bring your SS card and Birth certificate ( originals, no photo copies). Everyone in my class got turned away because no one had them. The book didn't mention it.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Just got the call!

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If i can offer you any advice it would be to useHigh Road Training Program. I went through school in October and after studying that, it made the first week easy as can be.

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Thanks for all the advice, I have indeed been using the High Road training program here on Trucking truth. It has been a blessing, as has this entire site.

Week one is in the books. I went to the DMV on Thursday (yesterday) to take GK, Tankers, and Air Breaks... Aced them all.

what a feeling to get the permit testing outa the way.

Today, Friday, I got to ride with another guy and an instructor doing a last day of an refresher course.

I learned a lot.

after all that , I was able to run about 20 minutes or so with a 48' trailer around the lot, to learn double clutching.

Yea, I suck at it.

One thing I can hang my hat on, I didn't stall the truck, or try to put her in reverse...

I think I did ok. not well, but not bad.

Onhe major thing I F*'D up, I forgot to grab my log book...

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Finally

Got my cdl Christmas eve very grateful and happy!

Gratz!

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Trucking school starts in less than 8 hours...

I am pulling for ya, I start School Jan. 4th and have seen your posts here, and we have had a lot of the same questions.

Looks like you will be out on the road a couple weeks ahead me. I wish ya all the best and look forward to your updates.

See ya out on the road :-)

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Just got the call!

If i can offer you any advice it would be to useHigh Road Training Program. I went through school in October and after studying that, it made the first week easy as can be.

Thanks for all the advice, I have indeed been using the High Road training program here on Trucking truth. It has been a blessing, as has this entire site.

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