Comments By Errol V. avatar
  • Errol V.
  • Joined:
  • 6 years, 1 month ago
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Posted:  2 weeks ago

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New member question about swift.


I'm to old for all that ego stuff. What kind of mpg do you all get? One more thing I would like to start working on.


That’s step #347. You’re on step #4.

Take it one step at a time.

Yes, John, MPG is waaay down your priority list. If you are heading for Swift (or any other sponsored truck school) you will be a Company Driver. Meaning the company is responsible for all maintenance, repair and fuel efficiency of your tractor. For many, that removes a huge burden of cares - no worries if there's a funny sound coming from the hood, just let the On Road people know. MPG would come in handy if the company rewards ($) drivers for high MPG. I drove for Swift, but the divisions I was in mostly did not have this reward.

Up at the top of the page is a blank space under the TRUCKING TRUTH banner. That's a search box. Put in a term like "trip planning" and you'll get some answers like this: TruckingTruth's Search Page results for Trip Planning

Overall, remember the school will be concentrated and intense. Yes, you got it: leave your ego in the hotel room. You may get very frustrated with yourself and others, but remember why you're there: to learn what it takes to get a full CDL-A license. Many things may seem crazy at first (Hours of Service as well as trip planning come to mind) but they will soon become understandable.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Solo rookie as of today

Welp made it through the living with the trainer for a month gig. he didnt really do anything execpt sit there. so i might as well have been solo from day one. o well i guess. now home for 4 days before i get back at it.

Good going, Scott! Ready to make your own money.

Keep in mind that if your trainer is "just sitting there", he may be confident that you won't mess up his run or crash his truck.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Seeking Advice For Military Veterans

I went through Swift's Academy for my license. As a veteran, Swift allowed me to take the course and drive for one year. At the end of the year my tuition was "forgiven". I never had a payment deduction. Swift isn't he only company that does this, simply ask your recruiters.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Truckers Against Trafficking

I'm bumping this topic. If you have 45 minutes - 1 hour, watch the TAT Training Video & Take TAT-Trained Quiz. Take the quiz and when you pass you can print a "Trained" certificate. (The certificate may be required anyway for your license and/or your driving job.)

Truck stops are a prime location for traffickers. Both for the potential "customers" and for the massive amount of transient people - where they and their cargo won't be noticed so much.

If you're wondering, the video stresses that you aren't to be the hero and rescue anyone. But you have eyes and ears and a cellphone, so you can call authorities with what you see. And yes, it's OK to misunderstand a situation and be wrong.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Tandems Won't Slide

ONe thing I have done, when I believe the rails/slides are simply rusted together or gravel got in is to #1 spray WD-40 (see CWC's "PB Blaster" above) most of the length and #2, go along with your hammer and give the rail a serious attention getting tap along each side.

Posted:  3 weeks, 4 days ago

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Going to CDL School soon and nervous about backing a trailer!

Chris, if you have never done a thing before, it's easy to be terrified about it. But on the other hand, every day thousands of brand new CDL students grab the steering wheel, look into the mirrors and start backing up.

Your first few weeks should be backing around orange cones - and they are used to being run over. Literally, you can't "crash and burn" on a backing range.

Bruce says it all: the instructors know you're new, and newbies do have a tendency to over steer.

Relax a bit, and join a club of thousands of new drivers.

Posted:  4 weeks ago

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Recap Question

Yes, those 10 hours will pop in at midnight. Just to clarify, you still need to stay within the 11 hours driving per shift and the ol' 14 hour rules.

Posted:  1 month ago

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I really need advice about my future

Matt, we practice "Tough Love" on this forum. Meaning if you don't "get" the Straight Dope® we lay out for you, you won't learn anything. Please stick around and learn something.

I'll start with

Being out months on end and getting only 9 days home... No, couldn't do it.

I hope you heard and understood the hometime your recruiter mentioned, if he did. Most OTR driving is exactly like you experienced - gone up to a month, and only four or so days home at a time. It something like that. (You earn one day at home for every week your out driving.)

Also it may not have been made clear how to ask for your hometime.

Now for the big flashing red light (on this forum):

Five months with Melton then you bailed. We recommend staying at least 12 months with your first company. Anything less will indicate you might be a job hopper, which most companies will frown upon. Also, you didn't mention it but if Melton helped you finance your truck school, they'll want their money back. Quickly.

I know that people don't retain everything they learn in truck school, and another driver reminded you about checking the kingpin coupling. The first several months that you are on the road by yourself are still a learning experience for you. Stick to it and keep studying.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Pre trip- what is the DOT requirement

Besides the federal law mandating your daily pretrip inspection, there's the main reason you need to check out your rig. To find problems before they become problems. I wrote a topic for years ago about this: Why Do A Pretrip?

And remember you don't really need to measure brake linings (1/4") or scan the frame for illegal welds and such on a daily basis. But belts do get wear, tire sides might get cut, power steering hoses could develop a bulge.

Do you think this could happen and you didn't notice? (You don't feel/ hear things back on those tandems.)


Posted:  1 month ago

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Pre trip- what is the DOT requirement

Keep this in mind: your daily pretrip does not include all the talk you did for your CDL test - "This is my alternator securely mounted no dents bends or breaks no broken wires blah blah". That verbal pretrip will take neatly 45 minutes or more.

Your real, daily pretrip will be you mostly visually checking all those things, and you don't have to babble on, just make sure everything is good to go. (And that nobody has pulled your trailer release overnight!) This will fit into the 15 minute block.

Also, if you do make this a habit, it makes a nice mediation/ "constitutional" walk to start your day.

(Thanks for the reference, G-Town).

Posted:  1 month ago

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Surviving my 1st year

#1: With a truck fridge you have it made. To stay healthy, try "salad kits" - yep, all the fixings in one bag. I found they are tasty, and sort of healthy. If you can eat the same thing for a few days, check them out. Keep a large plastic bowl and a metal fork (so you won't toss it away). Wash them off in the truck stop restroom.

#2: I figured out a simple way to heat canned goods - soup, chili and such. Find the bunk heater vent, probably on the floor. Get a can-size box. Put your can dinner in the box and set this open end toward the hot breeze from the heater. Dinner in ten minutes.

#3: Be sure to call your honey every evening. You know the rest of this.

#4: Check with your DM, see if there's any regional, dedicated or line haul jobs at your local terminal. These drivers often get home weekly.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Ok, good luck Eric!

It looks like you have "worries" similar to a rookie driver - trip planning, finding parking, and so on. You'll soon get over it.

A hint from me: use a truck stop locator like Trucker Path. Then first look for non-chain stops (NOT Petro, T/A, etc.) And plan to pull in earlier rather than later. You shouldn't have trouble finding parking this way. Don't forget that if you stop early you should leave early.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Pre trip- what is the DOT requirement

Short answer: enough time to properly inspect your vehicle. A written report, the Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) needs to be signed off by the driver at the end of a shift, and by the next day's driver. The regs go into detail about what needs to be inspected. In reality a good inspection probably does take half an hour.

I've heard (this phrase needs several grains of salt taken with it) that a court judge can ask a driver to actually complete a pre-trip in the 5 minutes the driver logged.

Section § 396.11: Driver vehicle inspection report(s)

Posted:  1 month ago

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Weather: When to shut down?

Between you and your trainer (who you called so I know he wasn't there) who's the expert on road conditions where you are now?

In your own judgment, would you feel comfortable continuing on down the road in your current conditions?

The person to make the go/no go decision is the person holding the steering wheel. That would be you. Stop in a safe place and call your DM. No one should tell you to continue. Also generally speaking, weather delays are understandable and don't come back to bite you.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Precision Sleep Solutions / Continuous Wireless Compliance

I've set up my CPAP in the evening when it's bedtime, and packed it away not long after I get up. I've done this for months. And it's a wireless one similar to yours.

I don't have Precision Sleep Solutions monitoring me (mine goes to the VA) but the data gets sent, probably during the night. My guess is you may not have to worry, as long as you use it regularly.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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My first 45 days as a truck driver

This is a good read. Similar to my diary I wrote out 5 years ago. All these problems!!!

Funny thing is, after a while there are not really so many problems anymore. Good luck, Grumpy!

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Company vs Paying for your own Cdl

Not to worry, P.E., the starting pay for first year hovers around $38-40,000 per year. You're on road most of the time. Going to a Paid CDL Training Program will get you financed by your company. Also, you are all but hired when they let you into their training program. Generally, you pay off your training over your first year.

It looks like you should start reading here:

You'll still be putting in something like 12 hour days. But remember you get paid for miles driven, not hours on a clock.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Going from a school bus driver to a tractor trailer driver

Short answer is NO. Driving combination vehicles with manual transmissions is a totally different animal from driving a school bus.

Take it from me. I owned a 48' RV/Bus for a number of years. Tractor trailer is 100% different.


Well, my first CDL, was for School Bus. (In the district I grew up in, and I believe I drove a coach I may have ridden in as a student. I did drive the very same route once.) I drove the kiddies for about six months then I started college. That was in the 1970's and that's where I learned double clutch.

40 years later, I learned to drive 18 wheelers. The double clutch "click-click" never left me. True, as I noted above, a 45' bus is not a 70' semi. But the clutching will work. The coordination of shifting in a big truck is a Level Boss for many diving students. I had no problem.

Posted:  1 month, 4 weeks ago

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Going from a school bus driver to a tractor trailer driver

I’ve been a school bus driver, in upstate New York, for several years. Now I’m thinking of getting my CDL-A. If I attend a company sponsored training program, will the training be any shorter/easier since I already have a CDL-B?



Welcome to Trucking Truth, Bob! There are a few differences both in the written test and in basic driving. If you have the Air Brakes done that in the bag. Click on the three-bar menu on the top left of this screen. Select "CDL Training Materials", then "High Road CDL Training Program" (our free test study/ preparation program), and you'll see the list of study sections. The ones noted with "(Permit)" are the ones required for the CDL-A permit.

As for driving, you know semi-trucks are "bent" between the tractor and the trailer so they are a different animal in the driving and skills department.

It can be done! Good luck!

Here's out "starter kit" reading for newbies:

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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I Have a Rollover. I’m looking for a company that will accept me.

PackRat coaches:

That’s not windy! Get both sides off the ground and that’s an adventure.rofl-1.gif

There are warning signs for big cross winds. You just have to be sensitive to them:


(I've had this photo for a while, I just needed a good topic to add it to.)

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