Comments By BushWheeler

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Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

BushWheeler wrote:

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In all likelihood you will be road and yard tested once you have gone through some preliminary orientation, paperwork, drug screening, and DOT physical with a company Doctor. I have never seen an applicant with experience given an opportunity to practice. The reason for the test is to evaluate "where you are" in terms of skill and your ability to handle the truck. Unless you hit something, or commit a traffic violation I doubt you will be dismissed. What will happen is they will attempt to match the extent and the duration of the refresher course with your current level of skill. Since you haven't had any OTR experience they may pair you with a trainer for a week or two just to get your sea legs and gain some experience with OTR operation.

That actually makes a ton of sense. The test is geared to assess where the driver is in regard to road-readiness. As a recovering academic, that type of test is referred to as a "diagnostic test." I had a bad experience with that type of thing back when I first got my CDL. I went Class B right out of trucking school, and was later hired for a Class A position. The Class A company gave me an immediate road test, and were about to fire me two minutes into it because I was having trouble downshifting, but by the time we were coming back to the yard, things started clicking again, and I saved my job before I was even officially hard. Basically, I'm trying not to have a repeat of that scenario.

Thanks for the tip on Swift. I'll look into their program for new drivers.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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Truck Stop Etiquette

Love this topic!

Help out other drivers when it is clear that they are going to hit something.

I've jumped out of my truck like a paratrooper numerous times when I saw someone about to hit something. Bad thing is they were other drivers closer than me that could have helped.

Help each other out! No one cares about us but us.

This is much better than the "Sit in my truck filming and making snide remarks about the other driver and his/her company, then post it on Youtube" approach that some of the super goobers take.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

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2) Will any of these companies put me in a high-pressure situation right off the bat where I have to put up or shut up immediately?

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Yes. At least it will seem that way to you. I mean, it's hard to get better at something if you don't challenge yourself so part of your trainer's job will be to make you think things through, drive through challenging circumstances, and then help you get better. They have to evaluate your abilities and then offer advice.

You'll be able to drive the truck just fine. The only reason you'll be going out with anyone for a short time is to learn how your company does things like fueling, payroll, customer interaction, dispatching, communications, etc.

Thank you for all of the great information. You're doing a really great service here, especially for us rookies.

My main concern in regard to being asked to do "too much too quickly" isn't really in regard to being with the trainer. I'm mainly concerned with being expected to have all of the shifting, backing, etc., down immediately in the form of a road test or something like that. I read about one driver who was given some sort of driving test immediately upon arriving at the company training program(at PTL) and being that I need a refresher, I don't want to walk into a scenario where I have to take a test before being given at least a day or two to knock the rust off. I just don't want to end-up with some nightmare scenario where some bitter curmudgeon who runs a training program sends me packing before I can get acclimated and potentially messes-up my DAC report. Maybe I'm being overcautious by worrying myself with this type of thing, but I'm trying to come into the industry with a career-minded approach and don't want to start off on a bad note.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

In case anyone is in the same situation as me and is wondering about Cypress Truck Lines, here's what it says on their website about drivers who have been out of the game for a while.

"If you meet our hiring standards and your application is approved by our Driver Applicant Review Committee we can help you. We will require you to complete some refresher training with us. This can amount to an extra week to 4 weeks after Orientation depending on your specific needs. The Training Department will evaluate your skills after you arrive for Orientation and determine the amount of time you will train before being assigned your own truck. Recruiting will give you an estimate before you come in but that will only be an educated guess."

Sounds like a good program for someone looking to get their road legs back under them, so I guess I'll see what they say about my specific situation of not having ANY Class A experience outside of that local gig I had for a few months over ten years ago.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

Hey Bigwheel, how‘s it going? I see that you're in Florida. Are you limiting yourself to those companies listed? If not, Cypress Truck Lines out of Jacksonville FL will put you through the 160 hr refresher, then out with a trainer.

Wow! I see that they even have a facility here in Tampa. I guess I'll have to call them tomorrow and see how they're going to treat the "Not a student, but not an experienced driver" issue. I know back when the economy was really bad, that put me in some inescapable loophole. I don't have any tickets, DUIs, or criminal record to worry about, so hopefully someone will give me a chance. If this works out, I owe you the finest root beer Flying J has to offer!

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

CORRECTION:

To clarify the part about me applying with KLLM: I applied with them online, they called me back the next day to do the initial song-and-dance, then, the same recruiter called me the following day to give me more info and asked me a few more questions. Then, about a week after that, I tried to call them back and could not get anyone to answer. Now, it's about a week later and I haven't spoken to them. This is where I stand with them, but I'm going to try to call them again tomorrow.(I'm only applying to one company at a time so as to not drive myself insane)

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

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KLLM, Western Express, Roehl, CR England: Best Shaking The Rust off Option

Hello everyone! It's wonderful to be on this site, which is such a treasure trove of knowledge! Here's my situation.

I got my CDL back in 2003, and did a few months of Class A local, a year or two of Class B local, then ended-up getting out of the industry altogether early in 2006. As you can see, I have no verifiable recent experience, and no OTR experience. Basically, my options boil down to companies that have refresher programs, and I've narrowed my search down to the companies I listed in the title.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty, I want to say that I know the negative things that people say about all of the companies I listed, so I don't need any overarching advice on how these companies are the downfall of society and their drivers like to run over unicorns. What I am expecting from the first company I work for is to be trained properly in the form of a refresher, orientation, training miles, etc., and of course, I would like to get a paycheck. That's it. No more, no less. I'm willing to pay my dues, so I'm not going to focus on the politics or look for the absolute dream job right out of the gate.

My first concern is getting hired to begin with. Being that I already have a CDL, but no experience, companies don't want to retrain me fully through an entire school(even though I'd be willing to do it all over again) but then again, I don't have any OTR experience, so I may not be "Refresher Material" either. I know that Western Express' website explicitly says that they will hire you even if you didn't use your CDL after you got it, so they might be my only option. I've applied with KLLM, and haven't heard from them in almost two weeks.(I tried to call them once but got put on hold forever, then disconnected)

To sum up, my first concern is GETTING HIRED.

My second concern, is getting hired by a company that will give me enough "Refreshing" for the rust to fall off. KLLM said that their refresher was six days long, CR England would be five days if they sent me to the school that is closest to where I live, and Western Express is only two days, one in the classroom and one day driving.(These are all for just the refresher portions and not going OTR with a trainer or another refresher student) My concern, is that companies will have me do a road test or something before everything starts to click again. I don't doubt my driving ability or anything, but being that I haven't driven in so long, it might take a little while for everything to sink in again, and I don't want to get into a situation where I get sent home before I have a chance to click on all cylinders. I'm not going to hit anything or drive through a building, but I'm just concerned that things like shifting and backing into a spot without 390 pullups won't be fresh in my memory. I know that common sense would tell me that the companies with the longest refresher programs would be ideal for me in this scenario, but any insight you folks have would be extremely helpful.

So, to tie everything together.

1) Will any of these companies hire me?

2) Will any of these companies put me in a high-pressure situation right off the bat where I have to put up or shut up immediately?

Thanks for your help!

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