Profile For Errol V.

Errol V.'s Info

  • Location:
    Olive Branch, MS

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 4 months 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:  3 days, 19 hours ago

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Company doesn't pay!

Old School, you forgot a few things some (newer) drivers might expect but don't understand.

Detention. Companies might not automatically pay you for waiting three hours to get unloaded. Often divers must meet certain requirements such as time at the actual dock, and being on duty not driving instead of just off duty.

Same for breakdowns and possibly some layovers.

Posted:  4 days, 23 hours ago

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Hello, Y'all~! 5'year lurker..finally saying HIYA w/ a conundrum.

Anne, my sister-in-law was in a similar situation - drove with her hubby for almost 17 years. (Illegally) learned how to drive a big rig, including all those backing maneuvers.

She decided to go legitimate and took the 160 hour course, financed through her husband's company. Aced the test after the four weeks of school.

An answer to the G-Town question: 5 on/2 off sounds like a regional assignment. But sometimes that "2 off" may be a way to describe a regular 34-hour break then back behind the wheel.

Posted:  4 days, 23 hours ago

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Oklahoma

[I am] worried about fkin up what I already have, worried about screwing up the people who count on me.

To put it straight to you, if you have made bad decisions in the past, you'll have to be mature enough and learn to respect what you already have plus those who count on you.

Those who depend on you include your family, your boss(es), your customers (as a trucker, these are the shippers and receivers) and even some people you never met but they need you to get your job done.

Posted:  5 days, 3 hours ago

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Student trucker also learning English

Robin, I teach basic trucking at Swift's school in Memphis. I work with many foreign born students. Some are nearly fluent in everyday English, some still have a hard time understanding English.

I'll first say that most of these English Language Learners are eager and motivated to learn. Yes, there's some misunderstandings. The Learner's greatest fault is to smile and nod their head when they don't quite understand. (Think of an ELL student learning to drive in traffic and the instructor asks him "At the next signal turn left. Be sure to be in the right hand left turn lane.") Work to get this politeness out of your student's head - he must get instructions down quickly.

Not to fear, though. Once he gets the instructions down he should do well. As for OTR life, he'll get the hang and rhythm of dropping and hooking trailers in no time.

Posted:  1 week ago

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On the Road Again

Welcome back, Carla. I just posted a bit for Hopalong Cassidy (returning truck driver) you could read.

As for companies to check into, here's a pretty good list: Trucking Company Reviews

Posted:  1 week ago

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Thinking about driving again after 12 years...

Thanks for your responses and advice. I'm glad to know I'm not alone here in returning.

Hoppy, you will have to get to school. I'm an instructor with Swift's school. About every class has a "returnee" like you - experienced but several years out of the business. You noticed a lot has changed, so you need the update.

Yes, trucks still drive/ back the same, so the offset and 90 backing exercises will come back just like in that old saw about riding a bike (you never forget how to). Just get in the 160 required school hours.

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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Moving closer to terminal worth it?

I live 30 minutes from the Swift Memphis terminal. I'd say there are minimal benefits of living close, like you always have a place to park, and if you need to get into the office it's right there.

But on the long run, being close by isn't worth moving. For home time you'll always get a route that gets you going by your house with time to enjoy the stop. If you need to see someone in the office, most times any terminal can do that for you. (I.e. I can stop at any Swift terminal to take a required class or to deal with any issue from my trips/ loads.)

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Manual Transmission

I have found several YouTube videos from CDL College in Colorado that are excellent for training.

Check out this one about shifting: 🎬[Tutorial] 10 Speed Shifting TIPS, 2018 –Truck Driver Students

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Class A CDL driving B class Truck

As long as you keep the driver license current, and have a current medical card, your license itself is ok. You could ride a bicycle for five years, and that CDL-A would be good.

BUT, the recent semi-truck experience, especially OTR would be lacking and you'd need a refresher for that the get a trucking job.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Keeping a level head

It is a hard thing to learn of a family member's death while you are on the road. Most companies will do their best you get you back to family in these situations.

A few years ago, my wife passed while I was driving. (She was in the hospital recovering from a stroke so it wasn't a pure surprise.) I got a call 7am and I was in Ft. Smith AR. My DM told me to bobtail all the way back to Memphis - e fattest way home. (She made sure I got the pay for the trip.) I got to the mortuary after 5pm. One of the longest drives of my life.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Keeping track of miles for verification.

Q #1: You are changing jobs after six months? We don't recommend that. A work history including job hopping doesn't look too good.

As for you're documented miles, add up the ones listed on your paycheck. If you are paid CPM, you'll have your total.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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45 degree /90degree help

Here is some if what I teach at the Swift Academy (truck school) in Memphis:

(Note: it's hard to do a setup if you aren't sure how to get the trailer into the dock. Also, I'll assume you want to do the classic "90 left" as you sit in the driver seat.)

The first part of your job is to get the back end of the trailer close to the start of the "slot" you are needing into. Besides keeping a decent angle door trailer, not much else matters. But be aware of those things around you that you might crunch into.

The side of the slot closest to you, I'll call the left side, where it will be when you get backed in. It is the easiest to turn toward. The side father away (the right side) is harder. So first aim toward the right side first.

When you start your backing, turn the steering wheel "away" from your destination side, toward the right if you're backng in to the the left.

Brakes off, start backing. Watch the back corner of the trailer (not the tires/ wheels) and watch for it to start heading towards that far (right) corner.

When that happens, stop for a second. The trailer should look like it's going past the far corner of the slot right now. Turn the steering wheel left, either back to straight or maybe one turn past straight. Back up a short distance, and watch the back of the trailer.

You can now pay attention to that left side of the slot, but remember it's hard to get away from it if it gets too close.

On a left backing, a simple right turn on the steering wheel will get you on top of the left corner, but it's almost impossible to get away from it if that happens. So as you turn, favor the right side first.

By now you should be able to look directly out the window at the back of the trailer and left side of your slot. Back up, watch, and add some left turn to start getting into the box.

Once the back of the trailer gets close to that right side point, turn the wheel hard/ all the way LEFT. It's time to start straightening every thing out. Keep a close eye on that left corner. If you think it's coming too close, twist the wheel some right, but not too much.

If everything goes to plan and the back of the trailer is between the left and right sides, turn your steering right and begin pushing the nose of the trailer right to line up with the box.

I hope this gives you a starting point.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Tips for minimizing time in training

I'm adding to the chorus: speeding up your training is a contradiction in terms. Nice to have a doggie on board, but learning about maneuvering a big rig, handling business at shippers/ receivers, route planning (to maximize your driving/ earning time.) needs to take precedent.

Many people mostly think that once they get the CDL, they're ready for the big time. Not so fast. Swift, for example, requires new/ rookie drivers to spend 200 hours, about four or five weeks, with an experienced trainer to both teach you the finer points and to assess you as a company driver.

On the company side, they really do want to get you into your own truck and start making revenue for them as soon as possible. But in their experience they understand newbies still need a bit of polishing before they're cut loose for the road.

Stick with your full training, Alex, and you can be a great driver, and enjoy the OTR experience with your canine buddy.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Word of caution from a new driver's standpoint.

Errol, your missing your hat. How are we to recognize you without your signature hat. LoL

Well ...... we'll see... 🤔

Posted:  1 month ago

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Where to look?

This is from our Trucking Wiki:

DAC (Drive-A-Check) Report

Everything you need to know about your DAC, and how to get a copy.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Word of caution from a new driver's standpoint.

Way to go Dave! Thanks for posting about what seems to be an insignificant part of driving an up to 80,000 pound machine down a highway - your following distance.

It's often measured in seconds, and the absolute minimum should be 3 seconds. But following 8 seconds behind is best. And your experience shows why.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Debating if I should join CRST ?

Remember, you are looking for a company to drive for, not a recruiter to talk to. Check out these company reviews:

Trucking Company Reviews

Also, the members of Trucking Truth represent many companies. Ask more specific questions to get believable answers. I work for Swift Transportation. I don't have any reason to change from Swift.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Am I concerned over nothing?

You are stressing over not much. First, remember this: avoid downshifting while going down a grade. The shifting needs to be done before you start down. There should be several "warning" signs at the top before you start down.

Also, especially on long steep grades there might be a "brake check" area. (Most modern trucks have automatic adjustments so you probably don't need to stop there.) You could have Truck Speed Limits as slow as 35 MPH.

In other words, plenty of warning. Use your retarder (Jake Brake) selector to get a speed you can manage and are comfortable with. Do NOT get intimidated by super truckers who come up behind you. Above all, don't ride/ slide your brakes.

Thousands of truckers go down steep roads every day. You can too.

Posted:  1 month ago

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No team driving in company sponsored CDL Training?

Errol “gets it”...

double-quotes-start.png

Team while training. Here's a big picture of it:

A trucking company is going to trust you with their $200,000 machine, and loads maybe worth another $200k. And you'll be pulling that small fortune through traffic, on roads from high-speed interstate to two-lane winding country roads.

What better way to see if they can trust you than to have you do all that, using one of their trucks assigned to a driver. Said driver is also responsible for his/ her truck and loads. Your trainer has a vested interest in making sure you do all the right things. Hence you will be learning the finer points of the truck driving career.

Additionally, after the first week or two, your trainer should trust you enough to handle the regular (and more boring) part of daily driving on your own for 4-600 miles on roads.

double-quotes-end.png

Totally 110% agree with the above.

For anyone unfamiliar with Errol, he is a Swift Academy driving instructor. When he replies to anything having to-do with training; his advice, wisdom and perspective is usually in the “priceless” category.

G-Turn,I guess I owe you lunch, or something.

smile.gif

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

No team driving in company sponsored CDL Training?

Team while training. Here's a big picture of it:

A trucking company is going to trust you with their $200,000 machine, and loads maybe worth another $200k. And you'll be pulling that small fortune through traffic, on roads from high-speed interstate to two-lane winding country roads.

What better way to see if they can trust you than to have you do all that, using one of their trucks assigned to a driver. Said driver is also responsible for his/ her truck and loads. Your trainer has a vested interest in making sure you do all the right things. Hence you will be learning the finer points of the truck driving career.

Additionally, after the first week or two, your trainer should trust you enough to handle the regular (and more boring) part of daily driving on your own for 4-600 miles on roads.

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