Profile For Errol V.

Errol V.'s Info

  • Location:
    Olive Branch, MS

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 1 month ago

Errol V.'s Bio

A school teacher for eleven years. Now I'm getting out of the classroom!!

A trucker for three years. The Oops! I'm become a Driving Instructor! ... Now I'm back in the classroom!!

Errol V.'s Photo Gallery Group 1 of 15

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Posted:  8 hours, 49 minutes ago

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One of the constant pieces of advice we offer at Trucking Truth is that new drivers should stay with their first company for at least a year. Your possible next company may not like to see that you hop from one job to the next.

And if CFI will pay or finance your tuition in return for a year's driving what's wrong with that? You can save your GI Bill benefits for something better/different later on. Do not be afraid of commitment.

As for the 14 hour rule, don't try to game the system by doing you're pre-trip "on your own time". (This is general advice, you didn't say you might do this.) For legal and CYA reasons you need to log the time for your pre-trip.

The 14 hour day is connected to your 11 hour driving time. Once you "punch in", as Big Scott says, you have 14 hours to get in your 11 hours driving. You could legally stay On Duty Not Driving longer, but the next 10 hour break can't start till you do "clock out" off duty.

Posted:  2 days, 7 hours ago

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One on one help in backing

Brett brings it all together. One on one may be ok for voice lessons, but not in the eye-hand coordination and mirror skills needed for backing a truck. Yes, it's best if you know your goal, and understand how the tractor and trailer work together - all learned through practice.

G-Town asks for an update:

Errol??? What is the current (training) process?

Hasn't changed. First the instructors demonstrate the turns needed to get the trailer into the box. Then students go out two-three together to a range truck and practice.

Don't think you aren't learning while you watch the other drivers. If you're in the seat, you learn how your technique is. Standing and waiting, watch the trailer and see how it moves.

That's how you learn, not by having an instructor sit next to you.

Posted:  3 days, 8 hours ago

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One on one help in backing

G-Town points you in the right direction:

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.

STJ, I'm a trainer at Swift's school in Memphis. I agree with G-Town: it's got to be "learned" into your head. I can stand outside a truck with a student, and tell them "put more right into it!" or something, and generally can get these students to back the trailer through a 90 degree alley dock all day long. But I know this is not the training for students to do the same thing all by themselves. I also, as G-Town explained, tell students to watch what the back of the trailer does. Your success is in learning and reading the back corner of the trailer as it moves toward your target cone. And that is something you can practice on your own way better than an instructor standing outside your window can do for you.

Posted:  6 days, 23 hours ago

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Should I keep my personal car after beginning OTR?

You have already heard the chorus about keeping the car. Two additional thoughts:

If you have that bottom level credit, keeping and paying off the loan is worth doing. It can only improve that score.

Another thing, talk to your insurance company. Let them know the car will hardly be driven. Sometimes instance companies can adjust the policy premium to reflect that.

Posted:  6 days, 23 hours ago

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Descending steep downgrades in an automatic

I drove a 2018 Freightliner daycab for a year. The cruise control really had me spoiled. On hills you can depend on the "adaptive" cruise control to keep you below your maximum speed. The ACC will manage the Jakes to keep you from overspeeding.

Hint: Going downhill with the ACC, if you press on the brakes the cruise control naturally shuts off. But if you need just a touch of slowing down, bump the Jake switch to "high" for a moment. That'll do ya.

Posted:  6 days, 23 hours ago

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Bryan sees things:

Well i saw both but I only accepted the first one. But once I did my empty call I was dispatch on the second one

When dispatches/pre-plans come across your Qualcomm screen, they are assigned to you. Maybe what you thought was reply to "accept" was actually acknowledging. If you get more than one assignment in a pre-plan it's because after the first delivery you'll be in the right place for the next pickup. So it's very rough to pick one but not the other.

At Swift you can turn down a load, but you must select that option and have a reasonable reason.

And in turning down loads you might give your DL the impression you're picky. Which often means you'll spend lots of time waiting for your next load.

As for time management, that's something you'll learn. In my first few months I got to spend a weekend in a shopping center parking lot because I tried to make a delivery on a Sunday. (Yes, the receiver was closed for weekends.)

Serious traffic back-ups are acceptable for delays, but the receiver may not be so understanding. Use Google maps to keep updated with traffic. In most cases you can use Google's suggestions for traffic detours.

Posted:  1 week ago

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May I please have some advice?

Danielsahn made a move:

I left Swift after 7 months. I was 100% committed to giving them at least a year, but family circumstances, altered my course.

True - if there's something going on in your life that needs attention, do what you have to do. No problem.

Danielsahn, you do know the refrain "Stay for one year" applies to "Greener Grass" thinking.

Don't drop from your first, or mainly any company just for perceived better benefits. Job hopping on your work history won't help you.

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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You can use the search box (upper left of every page) to search for discussions of Suboxone. Also the Trucking Wiki has an article about DOT Drug polices that includes this paragraph:

2. Prescription drugs - The prescribing doctor can write that the driver is safe to be a commercial driver while taking the medication. In this case, the Medical Examiner may, but does not have to certify the driver.

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Everyone has a story....

Welcome to Trucking Truth, O&I. I share a somewhat similar story in getting into trucking.

Two months before I decided to apply for trucking jobs, I got a 15 over speeding ticket, first one in y-e-a-r-s. Some companies said I needed to wait a year, then come back. Swift said "come on down".

That was about four years ago. In that time with Swift, it never entered my mind to switch companies. This is the thought you should have - why get started in one company just to move to another? Make your decision at the start, and stick with it.

As for proving anything, mostly you need to prove to yourself that you can handle the trucking lifestyle. Once you get rolling on your rookie year, you don't need to prove anything to Swift, and they'll keep you rolling. ... And this goes for any major carrier.

Good luck with your CDL training. If you happen to be assigned to the Memphis school, look me up - I'm an instructor there.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Failed Upgrade at Swift, What Happens Now?

He passed the written portion of the test. He failed the drive test. He had problems with the backing.
many road trainers don't give students adequate time to practice backing.

Yes, backing is a newbie "killer". At Swift, the trainee is required to make, and the Mentor to document, at least 40 backing "events", of various kinds. Also, all training is nicely compensated for to the mentor. In fact, for motivation, the mentors get a spiff if their trainees are active with the company for, I think, 3, 6 and 12 months. Good motivation to make sure said trainee is on the ball with backing and every thing else trucking related.

Even your husband's mentor, if he hasn't gotten back on the road already, might be able to add more coaching. And as Tommy points out, there should be some others who can add in a little coaching. Your man has gone the distance, and is I hope, serious about making a go at truck driving. It's not time to give up yet.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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A different view point of governed trucks

Diver, your post here is a great explanation of why only after proper training can someone coming in off the street handle an 80,000 pound, 2 story building scooting down the highway. But your title about trucks being speed governed is misleading here.

I agree with your thoughts that pulling this rolling monster down an interstate is not for straight newbies. And as in diving you don't just slip on a helmet and jump in, or step into a truck's cab and start the engine.

Suggest a new title, and if Brett sees it he may be able to get better clicks for this post.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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How Do these Companies Prepare Us?

ITruck, Splitter is right. Since you are the one holding the steering wheel, you yourself need to be best prepared for taking the CDL permit written test. Big Scott posted a big list of things that can help you prepare.

Two things about me might help: #1, I studied with the High Road CDL Training Program and passed my state CL test the first time, though your own mileage may vary. #2, I teach a one week class at the Swift Academy in Memphis on the CDL written test. I prepare my students as best -> I <- can, but after all, they are the ones who sit a the computer console and take the test.

Good luck! And follow this link to get started: High Road CDL Training Program

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Great news from FMCSA on PC

I haven't read the "Guidance" page before today, but I think this line really clears up another issue discussed here:

4. Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time

So if the guard says you need to go, then you can leave on PC, even if you are laden:

The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time.

(note: This may be limited/prohibited by your company, though.)

Also, Yuuyo quotes item #3, but left out a limitation:

3. Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading.

... and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.

Meaning you can't pass the Pothole Truck Stop to get to a TA.

As for Swift, you might need to talk to Safety about the necessary move.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Failed Upgrade at Swift, What Happens Now?

SuzieQ has a cliffhanger:

No one at Swift was able to tell him his fate.

Does anyone know what happens next? Is he automatically fired?

Will he be able to get a job with another carrier?

As Tommy and G-Town say, all is not lost. First, are you talking about a drive/road test or the written test? If this test just happened, give it a day or two, and he can always ask "What's next?" at the Driver Development Department.

If your Man went through Swift's training Academy I know there are several re-tests available. So ... after all the training, and the mentor ride, I'm sure he won't be booted out just like that.

Contact me at

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Truck GPS vs Qualcom navigation

QC GPS does not have traffic updating & re-routing. That's common in many "better" truck GPSs. And that's worth it by itself!

I believe the company's QC/Omnitrac tends to shave miles, compared to time. I've seen the QC route me down a country 2-lane highway that was 11 miles shorter than taking a parallel interstate (and 11 miles at 45mph instead of 60mph).

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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How Well do Companies, Prepare Us?

The best preparation for the permit test is your own. It's simply a pile of facts you must stuff into your noggin. Don't put the onus ("OWN-us", a responsibility) for such a simple task on somebody else.

As noted, one great test preparation tool is right here:

High Road CDL Training Program

Swift has a "Permit Class" that takes four days, plus taking you to the state DMV on Friday. But in my opinion, you'll do better to study the High Road CDL Training Program in the comfort of your own home rather than get stuck in a hotel for an extra week.

How do I know this? I teach the Swift Permit Class at the Memphis Swift Academy.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Pre-Trip Inspection - My Way! A must see!

I tell many Swift Academy students about this PTI guide. I've been telling them to search the site for "Pretrip inspection my way must see Daniel B." I "know" it helps.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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When is it too soon to look for another school?

I've been following this topic since Jeremy started, and now I want to jump in and double underline G-Town's comment about pullups.

I'm an instructor at Swift's Academy in Memphis. I tell the students that a pull-up is NOT any failure at all. It is simply an adjustment to make things better. In fact, a pull-up can be a really useful tool to get your trailer where it's supposed to be. That's why they allow you pullups!

If you can use a pull-up, you don't need to worry about getting the back of the trailer exactly right next to a cone, with the trailer lined up to go exactly into the box. Plan accordingly, expect to use a pull-up (or two!) and relax a bit.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Please Update Your Avatar

It worked for me! (BTW, no "preview mode"?)

There's something coming down the pike at the Swift Driving Academy that would explain my avatar choice. Stay tuned ...

Posted:  1 month ago

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Upgrading my CDL B to CDL A ?

Rekcurt9291 R. don't know:

I dont even know how to drive standard transmission in a regular vehicle,

You will have the advantage. People who already know how to shift a car's manual transmission have a bad habit: they probably don't double clutch. By not having a "single clutch" habit, you'll learn the trick much faster.

A short video: Double Clutch Video

Heads Up: if any anyone talks to your about "glide" shifting or "floating the gears", don't listen to them. Double clutch shifting is required for your driving test. You can float 'em after you get your own truck.

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