Profile For Steer Clear

Steer Clear's Info

  • Location:
    State College, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 10 months ago

Steer Clear's Bio

I trained with, and drove for Maverick. OTR hauling glass for 12 weeks. Good company, but I moved on. I was easily on-track for $50K the first year. Again, nothing wrong with Maverick, from what I hear they are at least above average if not one of the better companies, but this wasn't making enough $$ for the responsibility.

IMO, trucking is an enigma, and though I have very little experience compared to most, I feel I saw enough in 12 weeks to understand what seasoned truckers have seen and live with every day. I drove solo coast-to-coast twice, up to Canada, up and down the Eastern seaboard, Jersey, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, and other points in between. I got to experience securement of 45,000 lb loads of glass sheet over one good hot summer. Loved darn near every minute of the work.

So what's the enigma of trucking? Simple: if you look at everything that is happening on the highway, in town, at the docks and yards, and truck-stops, truckers bear an enormous responsibility. It's tough to even describe the weight of these risks and responsibilities.......yet, the pay and job security 'are what they are'. In my opinion, Drivers definitely deserve to be shown far, far more respect where it the paycheck!

Thanks Brett and all the contributors to the site! You definitely got a huge thumbs up from me when I took the learners permit to CDL school.

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Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

CDL-A school review: Smith and Solomon, DuPont, PA

Hello G-Town, I'm working on that. I have a pre-hire letter from Knight, but I'm not ready to sign on.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

CDL-A school review: Smith and Solomon, DuPont, PA

Hi All, I've not been online at TruthInTrucking for a few weeks......been in DuPont PA at the Smith and Solomon CDL school. Short story: good school, good value, only adults need apply. ;-) Longer story: Like every business, these guys (and gal) do a lot with a little. The DuPont location is a division of the larger Smith and Solomon group, based in Bordentown, NJ. The DuPont, PA group had four Freightliners, and a few other vehicles requiring CDL, such as a bus. Though it's a seemingly laid-back day-to-day experience, the instructors tell/show you what you need to know to get your CDL-A (and other endorsements) and then some. Either in/on the lot or classroom, or out on the road. That said, if you're a whiner who want's to be spoon fed, well.......good luck, you won't make it anywhere. Sure, when class sizes are large, you have to wait, but there are opportunities to practice shifting, yard maneuvers, and of course the vehicle inspections. Road time is in high demand, and you get more than enough to get your CDL-A. But if you're slow, or like me had bad habits from driving a stick in the 4-wheeler, you can take a weekend or two and have a really high instructor-to-student ratio.

Ever hear the saying "The fate of the world is determined by those who show up"? Well, those who leave early in the day leave the rest of us with a truck to ourselves. Yee-haw!

As I mentioned earlier, if you can't keep track of your're just not responsible enough to be entrusted with a truck. So, make a plan for yourself, go over it with an instructor, and let them know you're serious. Check your progress every few days. If you're ahead, great. Everybody seems to have skills they 'get'. And everyone seems to have skills they need extra work on. Schedule time if you're not reaching your goals dummy! It's on YOU to be sure you're ready on test day, and Smith and Solomon DuPont certainly have the equipment, hours of operation and a variety of good instructors to make it happen for you!

So yes, the instructors are good, and flexible in scheduling and teaching styles. They watch what you're doing and tell you how to correct problems, but they expect to be dealing with adults who listen and try their best to put the instructors advice into action, and practice it. If there is any fault with Smith and Solomon, it's with some of the students. I would not mind having a $5 bill for every hour a gaggle of students stood around BS-ing when there was a truck available to practice fundamentals. What I mean is: it's just plain sad when a student thinks they are 'special' to demand one-on-one road time when in reality they can't find the gears, or haven't worked on clutch-throttle-shifter coordination, let alone basics like yard skills.

And there was one other bonus, at least with my graduating class.......we all took an interest in getting each other through the pre-trip, and yard skills. There is a lot to be said for using teamwork, and the Smith and Solomon DuPont style does inject the essential knowledge and somehow the group reinforces that knowledge and you turn it into skill.

So in conclusion, great experience, I left with my CDL-A, feel very comfortable managing a rig, and the price here is very low compared to other schools. For what you needed, a solid CDL-A, it's a great value and was a great experience.

Thanks Clyde, Mark, Sheryl, Dennis and Paul!

"The Professor" ;-)

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Backing Practice 07

From the 'whale turd on the bottom of the ocean' level of experience.............why aren't docks 'first come, first served', that is, why not just belly-up to dock 1 if it's open? When you stop laughing, tell me how this works, OK? Thanks. Engine-ER

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Restrictions and Endorsements, PA and general

Hi All, I’m getting my CDL papers in order and have a little confusion.

But first, a High Road Training issue. I’ve been questioned in the High Road exams about the number of CDL endorsements, which seems to be 7. But, there is an insert in the PA Commercial Drivers Manual that says since December 21, 2015, there are now 6 endorsements. H- Hazardous, N – taNk vehicles P – Passengers S –School bus T – Trailers double and triple X – hazardous and tank

So, it looks like they dropped the air brake endorsement (L) and made it a restriction only.

But back to my question/issue: I want to test for Class A, with Manual transmission, Air brakes, Tank, and Hazmat. Seems like a nice blend to start out? My best guess is you have to pay for Class A AND pay to test for the endorsements you want, AND pay to test to lift the restrictions you want lifted. Add this up and pay the man with your application.

So, in Pennsylvania, you add N and H endorsements at $5.00 each, you can take the HazMat and taNk tests. But then you also have to pay to test out of the L or the Z restriction, which both talk about air brakes, and since I want to be able to run a manual transmission, I’d have to pay to get the E restriction lifted. Sound about right? So to lift the restrictions, it's probably $10, but might be $15 depending on that L vs. Z issue???

If anyone can shed light on the difference between Pennsylvania L and Z restrictions, thanks. L says: "Operate vehicles equipped with Air Brakes". Z says: "Prohibits driving a commercial motor vehicle with full Air Brakes" They are both under the Restriction Removal section of the DL-31CD CDL learners permit application at $5.00 each.

By the way....Thanks Brett and your collaborators and supporters for running this's really nice, and the work is appreciated.

Regards All, John Best

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