Comments By Daniel H.

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  • Daniel H.
  • Joined:
  • 6 years, 3 months ago
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Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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My Swift Driving Academy experience.

Swift Transport driver standing in front of his truck

I started the Swift Driving Academy in Lewiston, ID on 1-06-14. On this thread I will do my best to inform everyone what I am going through and how they teach us to drive these big trucks.

A little background on me, I'm 38 and spent the last 20 years doing residential construction. After the last few years of little work, a friend of mine threw the Washington state CDL drivers guide at me and told me to read it. After studying it a little I got online for a little research and almost immediately came across TruckingTruth.com. I have truthfully barely even glanced at the state book since. With the help of The High Road Training Program I easily passed all of my permit and endorsement tests, I have even amazed some of the instructors with the knowledge that I have coming in and not having any trucking background at all.

Coming into Swift I was required to have my CDL permit with the combination vehicle endorsement and air brake restriction removed. I was also required to have my DOT Medical Card and Social Security Card.

Day 1. Bussed from the Motel to swift at 5:45am. Class starts at 6:00am in the winter. We started out with paperwork, personal info check, SDA (Swift Driving Academy) pre-enrollment check, SDA enrollment agreement, SDA photograph and video release form, Tuition loan agreement ($3,500 at 0% interest paid back by weekly payroll deduction over 13 months with a weekly tuition reimbursement paid to me over 26 months), student housing loan agreement ($500 at 0% interest paid back by weekly payroll deduction over 6 months), and the SDA driving range rules.

Next we went over to the terminal for the wiz quiz, no hair test. When we got back we were given 3 open book tests on shifting, hours of service, and trip planning. We then started our logbooks, BTW (behind the wheel) form which keeps track of our classroom, backing, shifting, and driving hours.

Then we were given a copy of our state pre-trip inspection guide and our homework, write out the pre-trip inspection guide WORD FOR WORD, yea that's right word for word. It turns out that some people in previous classes had only been scanning it and not actually reading the thing. Took me until Wednesday and 23 pages but I got it done.

Day 2. Had a lesson on log book rules and the proper way to fill them out, then was tested on it. Then went to the WA DMV to pick up the CDL test sheet ($100) and spent the rest of the day writing out the Pre-trip.

Day 3. Started the day with 3 hours of learning how to pre-trip a truck including the sequence that the tester would like to see it done in. Then got put in a truck and learned straight line backing. Did countless trips of pulling forward 100 yards, stop, back up into the box, get out and look, get in, repeat. Did that for 5 hrs. Finished up the day with 2 more hours of pre-tripping.

Day 4. Started the day with 2 hrs of pre-trip studying. Next it was back into the truck for 3 hrs of straight backing. After lunch I was shown how to do 90 degree backing and off-set backing. I spent the next 3 1/2 hrs off-set backing, pull forward for 100 yards then back up 100 yards while moving left 12 feet and stopping in the box while trying not the kill the cones, get out and look, get back in and return to the starting point. I only managed to kill 2 cones but they're resilient little things and usually pop right back up. After that learning experience we did 1 1/2 hr of pre-trip studying then called it a day. After class I went to the store and bought some index cards and use them to make flash cards of each component of my pre-trip with the name of the part on one side and proper explanation on the other. (Thanks Brett for the idea)

Day 5. Started with 2 hrs of pre-trip, notice a pattern yet? Then 1 hr on the off-set backing course, I,m getting better but I still need more practice. Next I moved over to the 90 degree backing range. That was a frustrating couple of hours. You'd think that it'd be as easy as turning the wheel one way, letting the trailer swing around, then steering back into it. Unfortunately it just hasn't clicked in my head yet, but I'll get it. One instructor suggested that I buy a toy tractor trailer and draw out the course on paper to help understand how the truck and trailer interact with each other, I'll be picking one up tomorrow. After lunch I went back to the straight line backing for 4 hrs. I've got that down pretty good now. Finished up the day with 2 more hours of pre-trip. After classes I came back to the motel and did a few hours of pre-trip studying.

Day 6. Today was a classroom day. It started with a SDD (Swift Decision Driving) power point presentation. Pretty basic 10 point defensive driving program. Next came the videos, Eaton Fuller transmissions (witch left most people baffled but I found pretty interesting), mountain driving, downhill driving, commentary driving (which I remember from driver's ed when I was 17) and backing techniques. We also had an officer from the Idaho Port of Entry come in and talk to us about weight limits, off-tracking rules and legal truck routing. Over all it was a very informative day. After class I went out and bought my first 18 wheeler.

Lowe's 48 model truck replica

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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My Swift Driving Academy diary.

1-5-14

Well I got my room here at the Cedars Inn in Lewiston Id. The lady at the front desk said that 11 people are to show up today so I'm thinking that that will be my class but we'll see come tomorrow. I just got a call from the front desk saying that my room mate is coming up now. He seems nice enough but we'll see if we get along.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow but I'm getting nervous now. I know I'll do good but still, there's that thought in the back of my head that I may inadvertently screw this up.

I'll keep everyone here updated on how it goes.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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A CB question

Brett,

I understand that mentality. Am I looking to get rich driving? No (that's what lotto tickets are for). Am I looking for a way to create a retirement plan? Yes. Am I looking for a new lifestyle that will challenge me and be personally rewarding? Yes. And if it doesn't work out then I can say that I tried and it wasn't for me, but I doubt that'll be the case.

Anyway When I was a teen my friends called me Boone. Anyone who has seen Night Breed will know the name. On line I go by Kalak, taken from a trilogy of books that I really liked. But with this new chapter in my life I feel a new name would be in order. So any suggestions will be given proper deliberation. I'm not necessarily looking for something unique but something that I feel fits me.

So people, please give me ideas. I don't know if anyone got a handle from Trucking Truth yet but I'm open to suggestions.

Daniel

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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The Adventures of Daniel B.

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Oh and Epic Beard? I love it.

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His beard is epic. He looks like a character I would create in a videogame. I wish I could grow that haha

What kind of powers do you think a bearb like that'd have?

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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A CB question

Well maybe I'll get a nickname in school and use that. As long as it isn't cone killer or something like that.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Hot dang I'm here.

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Six,

Where are you training?

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Trainco in Perrysburg, Ohio. They list it in Toledo but it's actually in Perrysburg on Oregon road.

I'm in Lewiston Idaho, with Swift.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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The Adventures of Daniel B.

Good luck with Prime, with your work ethic I'm sure they'll have you running hard.

Oh and Epic Beard? I love it.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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A CB question

Is a CB handle something you choose for yourself or is it something that's appointed to you by others?confused.gif

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Hot dang I'm here.

Six,

Where are you training?

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Hot dang I'm here.

Well all I made it to Lewiston Idaho to start the Swift Training Academy.dancing.gif Classes start on Monday but I plan on using the weekend to scout out the facility and talk to drivers. I also plan on trying to keep a detailed log of my training which I of course will put here on TT.

Thank you Brett and everyone that took the time to answer all my questions and point me along the proper path with the knowledge I needed to make the informed decisions that will benefit me for the rest of my life.thank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gif

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Where to start finding trucking job without diploma or GED?

Jonathan,

I never finished High School either (made it through 10th grade) nor have I got a GED and I am starting the Swift Driving Academy on Jan 6th. I had FFE/KLLM Transportation, CRST, Central, and Transport America calling me after I filled out applications with them.

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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I did it!

Whoo Hoo!! dancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gif Congradulations!!

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Medication Question

I wouldn't think that using a pill organizer would be a problem as long as you also had the pill bottles onboard.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Rules about smoking in a truck cab?

The only laws that I have found that restrict smoking in a truck are while hauling Haz-Mat class 1(explosives), class 3(flammable liquids), or class 4(flammable solids).Nor any placarded cargo tanks used for hauling class 3(flammable liquids) or division 2.1(gases). When hauling any of these you are not allowed, nor should you allow anyone else, smoke within 25 feet of them, which will encompass the cab.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Building A Glossary!

Thanks for this Brett!

Are you looking for comments and submissions?

For instance:

"Bulkhead A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load."

...is also known as a 'Headache Rack'

If not, I'll just shut up and go sit in my corner again. smile.gif

You're right except for the baffle part. Baffles are bulkheads that have holes in them that are placed in non-food grade tankers to slow the liquid and help control the forward and backward liquid surge in the tank. However it must be noted that baffles do nothing to alleviate the side to side surge that happens while turning.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Thank You Trucking Truth!!!

Daniel H. Would you mind posting your experience with Swift in Lewiston. Have checked out their requirements to start and are in line with some of the other schools out of state. I have sometime before I will be able to start, so using trucking truth to be prepared thank-you.gif . Best of Luck as you start your new adventure.

Yea Tracy I plan on keeping a log and posting it here on TT.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Thank You Trucking Truth!!!

Brett,

I have already got my permit and all the endorsements except for the HAZ-MAT and I plan to take that one either today or tomorrow, I've had my fingerprints taken already. I've already taken the DOT physical and received my 2yr card.

I've never driven a big rig before so I haven't had the chance to learn any bad habits yet. I plan on taking as many notes as I can and to learn from as many instructors that I can as well.

I'll keep everyone here posted on my progress. I hope you had a merry christmas.

Daniel.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Thank You Trucking Truth!!!

Thanks Logan. Will do. I plan on taking my WA state HM test next Tuesday. The pre-trip is bugging me mostly because I have no way to get to a truck to see it first hand and I learn easiest by doing and seeing. I guess self imposed after hours training will be in order.

As far as the trainer goes I'll hope for the best but first things first. Jan 6th. Then Jan 7th.

I will do as you say and take notes. I'm the secretary for a tractor club so that part should be easier for me than most others. Open book tests will do me good.

OMG I'm so nervous and I don't even start for 2 weeks.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Special requirements for Texas commercial motor vehicles portion of the cdl test

Getting a copy of my SSI card is the only thing that could delay my start in the Swift driving academy. I applied for it on 12/17 and they say I'll get it in 2 weeks (12/31) I leave for the academy on 1/4 or 1/5 to start on 1/6. My recruiter told me that having that card IS A MUST. If I don't have it then he'll postpone my start date.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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An unsafe driver

Ya know, there's just sooooo many details a driver has to take care of day in and day out that sometimes people can get lazy or complacent. Just when you think you have this job figured out it will throw you a curve ball and you'll realize once again just how quickly things can go wrong out there. It takes an incredible amount of discipline and focus to maintain that safety record out there. There are a thousand things have to go right to get through the day safely but only one thing has to go wrong to screw it all up.

It is something to remember that one forgotten thing, careless moment, or one undouble-checked latch can truly cost real world lives. Complacency is an enemy that we all must be ever vigilant against.

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