Profile For Errol V.

Errol V.'s Info

  • Location:
    Olive Branch, MS

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 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 16

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Posted:  6 hours, 35 minutes ago

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Need some help with 90 degree alley dock and offset

Dave is close to what I teach. The main points for the offset are to watch the landing gear till you see half (that's easy - watch for the bottom of a "V" made by the support struts). Then turning the wheel all the way to the other side and straighten your truck out.

A key point: Whenever your tractor and trailer are straight (you can see a side of the trailer in both mirrors at the same time), stop and decide what to do next.

One thing to learn while you practice the offset is how the trailer bends as you turn the steering wheel. You'll learn about the "10 foot delay" Big Scott talks about and that's important.

Posted:  18 hours, 23 minutes ago

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Unwritten Trucker Pro-Tips (Feat. Kearsey)

@icecold: It seems obvious (left sign for left exit) but we are all mostly programmed to exit right. So if you see & know it's left-side, you won't be surprised and try to pull 53' of trailer across three lanes in 100 yards!

@PackRat: Swift has a rule: HALF the posted advisory speed on ramps. And if it comes up in a safety conference they'll ding you for it.

Posted:  1 day ago

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Unwritten Trucker Pro-Tips (Feat. Kearsey)

There are so many really useful tips truckers have learned over the years, most of them are not written down or taught in any class. Kearsey (Rainey) just posted a YouTube video of a neat suggestion about which way to go when you're lost:

Finding Truck Routes

Here's one I posted on the forum a few years ago:

On a busy interstate with many upcoming interchanges (think I-285 around Atlanta), which lane do you need to be in? Look for the lanes with the most oil drips/darkest center area. Sometimes that's not the rightmost lane!


Feel free to add your own "secrets" here.

Posted:  2 days, 14 hours ago

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Tools needed?

It's true, you don't really need a full toolbox on your truck. Here's some tools, and what I've used them for:

Large screwdriver - the small pry bar mostly, it's just something you have to have.

2 lb ball peen hammer: when some part (mostly the trailer) needs to be beat loose. Also: break up the ice on your steps and most importantly, to be the third hand when your kingpin high-hooks over the fifth wheel.

Vice grips: if the tandem release won't stay released.

8" or 10" Crescent wrench: mostly to work with the glad hands & air lines.

Tim snips (6"}: to cut seals. A metal seal will do in a knife.

Depending on what you haul, a push broom. (You should be able to stow it across the under- bunk storage.) If you haul certain things, like food or food containers or paper rolls, you will have to sweep out the trailer & it will be inspected.

Posted:  2 days, 20 hours ago

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Community college as a means of getting my cdl?

Joel, here's another angle on going with a company school.

A private CDL school's business is getting you a CDL. Nothing more. Sure, recruiters come by with a pitch for their version of The Open Road. But you still have to go through the hiring process. And you've bought the school CDL program, job or no job.

On the other hand, a company will FIRST see if you are a good fit before committing to put you into CDL school. This is a long winded way to say you are all but hired when that company accepts you into their school - that's a headache you avoid.

Posted:  5 days, 4 hours ago

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Illinois air brake test, questions for those that took it.

Your first question: the air brake in-cab usually happens after the pre-trip walk around and before you start the skills (backing) part.

It's kind of hidden in plain sight, but just under the Trucking Truth title is a search box. I put in "air brake pretrip" and got several answers, including this one: Pre Trip In Cab Air Brake Test.

Our Standard pretrip resides here: Pre-Trip Inspection - My Way! A Must See!

You might also take a look at the Table of Contents menu: top left "three bar menu". Maybe check in the Trucking Wiki. (look on that ToC list).

The other in-cab stuff isn't just "mentioned", you do/check the things as you say them. As you click on your seatbelt, you are saying "I'm putting in my seatbelt. It's securely attached to the floor (on the right end) and to the door post." You release the buckle then re clip and say "The buckle releases easily and it's adjusted for me." And keep talking and doing the inspection.

Lastly, your test truck should have chocks in the storage. Even if you're on a level area for the test (chances are very good that you are) you can mention them as you point out the required safety items in the compartment.

The inspector has the tablet and she probably is simply checking off each item you inspect. Don't go overboard on inspecting "everything", but remember, it's part of your blanket that hangs off the bed that keeps you warm.

Posted:  5 days, 13 hours ago

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CDL School - Backing Troubles

Sorry to hear about the backing problems, but JOIN THE CLUB, Moses!! Backing the offset, and especially that 90 is where most CDL students start to go crazy.

You can use the search bar at the top (the blank space under the Trucking Truth title) and search on offset or "alley dock".

A few key thoughts, one your instructor hinted at: that you "wait too long". At the beginning it seems almost too subtle. But watch the side of the trailer and watch it bend (turning on the 5th wheel) "one inch of bend will turn into one foot change in no time". Also, the saying goes that when you turn the steering wheel as you back up, it takes 10 feet in backing for the tandems to get the message.

You are not alone, Moses. You are getting frustrated. And that's par for the course. Each time you back up, analyze what you did to mess up and make it a learning experience for your next try. Then focus on getting it right next time.

Posted:  5 days, 15 hours ago

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You think you have it bad, here's a story about China's OTR drivers

The article in The Economist is cut off unless you sign up, but the first few paragraphs are a peep into Chinese OTR life.

China’s long-distance lorry drivers are unsung heroes of its economy

(Translation assistance: lorrie is British for a big truck.)

Posted:  5 days, 19 hours ago

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Poor trainer

Rookie has the Patience of Job:

I put a call in and they told me that they were going to pass it along and that it was up to the training coordinator to see if they are going to be able to help me out. So now I’m just sitting here waiting on a phone call ...


A quick hint: Whose job is it anyway?

Don't sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. By this afternoon you should have contacted the training department yourself. Let me ask again: Whose job it it anyway? Three guesses, the first two don't count.

Posted:  6 days, 20 hours ago

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Irritating weekend.

I believe I can say your problems aren't original, but they are for you! I lost a weekend the same way. So I learned that if the timing is dicey, I call ahead before I move my truck! I remember two times the call saved the day, the shipper (even a 24/7 shipper!) said the order wasn't ready and check back in a while. Both times, I had to wait 24 hours (several "in a while" phone calls later).

Posted:  6 days, 22 hours ago

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Home time and rookie driver

Monthly home time is almost the "regular" schedule. In my rookie year at Swift, I explained to my DM that I needed to be home every other weekend. Wasn't a problem. Well, it was, in a way: I never got any really long runs so that I could be routed back through Memphis every 14 days.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Bullitt's New Journey

The important parts of the manual are consistent (there same) across every state. The High Road Program will work for you, even though it is built on Illinois, I think.

Keep this diary going. I went though the Swift Academy in Memphis about 5 years ago. Things have changed a bit, but you can read my diary here.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Poor trainer

Kearsey is right: I'm sure that from the office point of view you walked of the job. This is Saturday. Did you get off the trainer's truck Friday? Get ready to make a phone call early Monday morning.

Large companies have a central phone number any driver can call and they will put you in touch with the right place. You might call that number right now and at least get the right phone number you need.

I know that Swift, in their orientation, gives all new drivers a phone number to call if they have any question/ problem. Also about a few weeks in the training office calls the trainee direct as a follow-up.

It can help us understand your situation better if you let on the company you are with.

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Enrolled in CDL Training need advice

Hello again, C. Dumplin. Here's some more information for these questions.

"Starter companies": No company puts you in training wheels to prepare you for a "real" job. Any company willing to put you through CDL school is actually playing for keeps. I know you are in a non-company sponsored school. The idea still applies.

Once you have that CDL in hand, your training will still continue. You will most probably ride with an experienced trainer for maybe 6 weeks (getting paid) before your company will trust you on your own with their truck and a load. Not to worry, most new drivers take this route. Read that Truck Driver's Career Guide.

After that, as long as you take your trucking job seriously, and don't get lazy, you could be pulling at least $40k a year. The key is you need to work with your driver manager (DM). Become a go-to driver and your wheels will always be turning (and you'll be earning).

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Truck Driver in training

Hi, C. Dumplin, welcome to Trucking Truth. Maybe someone here has some experience with your two choices. In the meantime, here are some things (we have much more!) that might help you:

You might find your companies here:

Trucking Company Reviews

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Five Years On This Account

Congratulations, Old School! As you described, 5 years with the same account (not to speak of the same company) means you're a Methuselah driver for sure!

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Southern Dad Joins the Fray

I drove only for Swift. What I'm about to say will truly work for nearly every other big trucking company.

Swift is quick to pay you, and covers any authorized road expenses. Their equipment is no more than 4 years old and getting things fixed is never a problem. They are on top of safety issues. The most important thing is your relationship with your Driver Manager (DM). You two are a team and your team will make money (miles) if you work together.

You might find lots of people are down on Swift. Well that goes for most large companies as well, only Swift if one of the largest,. If you run the numbers, there's are numerically more Swift drivers out there. And since they train their own new drivers, Swift becomes the butt of newbie jokes. Never mind this, Swift is a good company to dive for.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Driving for Prime

Donna, you could write your stuff up as a TT Blog entry. That's something Brett can decide.

In the meantime, here is Rainy's (Kearsey's) Blog entry: Sexism In Trucking From A Woman's Perspective

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Nikita gets sees the End:

I know I'm doomed at this point☹

Not so much. Like I said,one company told me "Not now" and another scooped me up. If you are in tech school for your CDL, you still have time before you put it to use. Do you have a company or other plan in mind?

Here is some reading for you:

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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My Truck Has Been Sold...What!?

Gotta pick up a load headed for California and drop it off at main terminal in Springfield, MO to make the switch. I'm praying I'm not going to have to wait too long.

If you are under load when you have to switch, I can't imagine they would make you wait. Other than that moving your stuff could take a coupla' hours. Just like a house move, your old truck will be a bottomless pit of things you need to move over. Good Luck!

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