Comments By Traffic Jam

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Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Traffic Jam and Swift Mentor

6/12/17

Ok, stuff stowed away and I am ready to leave for Swift Transportation Orientation. I'll drive down to Lancaster tomorrow, orientation starts the next day, 6/14/17.

I wonder when I could consider myself a "Swifty". First day of orientation? Or, at end of mentor training? Do we spell it: "Swifty" or "Swiftie"?? ☺

I know I am placed on payroll on day two of orienation..... I think one could consider himself a swifty who is on "probation", and in the end, once mentoring is complete and I receive a tractor to use I could then consider myself a full fledged (rookie) Swifty. ???!?!!!?

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Best Cell phone companies for truck drivers?

6/12/17 I was with Verizon for over 15 years. I had dabbled with Straight Talk once when I retired the first time. I then traveled from NY to Seattle, Canada to Mexico border, mountains, in deep areas of . . . i think it was South Carolina . . . never had a real problem. I don't think I will ever go back to Verizon. My phone is my Verizon phone I got with them-I phone 5. I am going to get a new phone, but stick with Straight Talk. I think i will check out a portable dearie to hook up my tablet while on the road. But I will try the straight talk thingy.

I've had a great time with Straight Talk, only $59.99 (SAME EACH MONTH), enjoying it.

To each his own. :-)

-Traffic Jam smile.gif

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Traffic Jam and Swift Mentor

Will do, MC!

It's all temporary, and and I will take one day at a time, one week at a time, one back up at a time, etc.

I will not worry about the time, it will take care of itself. Just concentrate on today, now.

Thanks.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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CRST Expedited Trucking School and training program Cedar Rapids, IA. A (re) training diary by millionmiler24

Hey Millonaire,

Way to go. What they offered you sounds Par for the course with a few variatikns. When you are starting like this with a training company I have learned here on TT that usually they are all about the same. I am with a different company, just finished training and am going to Company Orientation this June 14, 2017. Then for 200 hours with a mentor on the road. If I make it thru all that then solo. Drive for the company for about one year and training is paid for.

Hope you write a lot and I'll be following.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Ready To Start

Ok Jimmie D. I hope you will write lots of entries so we can follow along with you. Welcome or the industry! I hope you have lots of fun at Jim Palmer.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Accepted into CRST

Way to go James H! You are in for the time of your life. I just finished training with Swift Transportation and each day was a blast. I learned a lot and made a whole bunch of new friends. The instructors were terrific. I am sure you will do the same if you keep a positive attitude and give it your all.

Thanks for your service to the greatest country, the U.S.A. We hope you will write about your experience so we can follow along and cheer for you.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Traffic Jam and Swift Mentor

6/10/17

Thanks Serah D. Luck to you with your mentor. Hope all is going well. Much time left?

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Mobile phone service

Oh, and billing is always the same.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Mobile phone service

I left Verizon after billing never was what they said. Well, one thing was true ..... ALWAYS MORE, ha, ha.

I have used my Verizon IPHONE 5 on Straight Talk from NY to Seattle, from Big Ben to Canada. Never have had a problem. Data stream is fine. I use it for calls, texting, email and some Web browsing. Mapping, I use my gps, photos, etc.

Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Traffic Jam and Swift Mentor

I have just completed my CDL training at Swift's Corsicana Academy in Texas this 6/9/17. I am to report to Orientation at the Lancaster Terminal at/near/in Dallas, Texas on 6/14/17. I am starting this log now and if you wish to read my CDL Training Diary on TT go to the CDL Training Diaries, and find "Swift Diary". Last entry there was 6/10/17. :-)

I am looking forward to Orientation. Find out about Swift, get my docs in order to be an employee, and do some more training on Swift Reqs/procedures and all, and finally go out with mentor if all goes well.

smile.gif

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Swift Diary

6/10/17

OK. Back at home from Corsicana Swift Academy and have got some sleep, and rested. Thanks to TT and all the help here. Couldn't have done it without you. Thank God I have arrived to this spot in my training!

thank-you.gif

Extra things about this experience:

When I left out of here I had my duffle bag and then extra bags full of clothes and supplies and etc. I took a cooler to use in the motel, equipment and items I had from my brief trucking career before this. I thought I might be heading right to Orientation from the Academy. I did not know how to figure laundry as I was unsure as to access to such. So took lots of clothes. Looking back here are some comments:

Duffle: I had a top loader zipper-neat duffle I have and wanted to not pack it tight/up/full. But, well this is like backpacking, if you have a BIG backpack you will take MORE stuff and it will be MORE heavier. Yeah, I never did have enough room in that duffle. IF I had this to do over again I would take less clothes. I received advice to take from 1-6 weeks of clothes. Six weeks of clothes is a big duffle bag! Ha, less is best. Laundromats are available.

Cooler was good. It is one that is electric and may be plugged into a cig lighter on a truck or AC in wall.

Books, notes, flash cards from High Road Training, CDL book, etc: Did not look at the State CDL "book" while at the Academy. They had all this in their own "book" and customized to their training and training plan. We did receive a "book" put together by the Academy and it is a great reference for the maneuvers, info on the course, theory and all of trucking. I did review the flash cards from the High Road I had put together. Sometimes I did this in the back of the cab when we were out driving. It could get boring . . . . But I reviewed them on weekends and days off also. Not constantly, but all this helped me keep my focus.

I feel, If you are new to trucking-study the shifting pattern. I think it is not to early right off to study this as soon as you know what pattern you will be using (wait until school and find out if possible). It sounds dorky but sit down on a chair and pretend you are shifting and work through it. I mean work it, forwards, backwards, upside down, inside out, on and on and on. Pretend you are in hi and then in low. Flip the "flipper" or whatever you are going to call it and work it out. I did this when I knew it was coming every hour on my evenings off. Then once we started I would talk outlaid and give a patter on what I was doing, e.g., "going to 5th . .. now to 6th . . . ". You get the idea. I stopped that late on the 2nd day of driving and immediately my shifting suffered. I picked it back up and immediately I was "good" again. Also, when I was driving on one weekend I did not review my shifting like I had been doing. That Monday, my shifting was not so good to say the least. So at lunch I started doing my "exercises". Students would walk by and make comments, some even laughed. Funny thing, they are still there, I am at home :-) So, I won't let a weekend go by while I am in this process right now like that again. I can think I will eventually get to the point where I won't need to do this.

Final remarks: When I started this I meant to just talk about the duffle, ha, ha. But when I return for orientation i intend to take some business casual clothes to wear so as to make a good impression. It is my opinion that first impressions are often lasting. I don't know if I will really "meet" anyone where this would make a difference. However, I know if I don't prepare . . . I will regret it. Seems like this always happens to me. At any rate, these I will leave in my car when I boogie with my mentor.

This might be boring here: my duffle (remember this is summer) will have probably only one pair of jeans, 4-5 pairs of shorts, tennis shoes, sandals(I'll be wearing one or the other), 7 socks, 10 drawers, about 6 T shirts, maybe 2 golf type collared shirts, rain coat(Frogg-Togs), long johns (long john and rain coat double as cool weather "coat", gloves, Rxs. My goal is to pack light.

Small backpack: contains pens, paper, etc., and in the big compartment for bathroom bag-personal hygiene items, things for showering, flip flops on outside in an attached pocket, small towel, wash rag, etc. I can grab this and go.

Only other thing is sleeping bag and clipboard.

That's it other than a ball cap to wear, pocket knife and things like that.

Well, this I learned at "CDL School" and so that is done and I guess this about completes this "Swift Diary" on earning my CDL. I hope someone likes this and learned from my experience. Please leave comments, it only takes a second. Its our only way to know if you appreciated the diary. I will now begin a diary somewhere here on TT about my mentor experience that is to start with Orientation on June 14, 2017. I will try to label it: "Traffic Jam and Mentor", something along those lines.

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifT-H-E E-N-D!

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6/10/17 Thanks Big T and G Man.

Do you think I ought to start a separate thread for the mentor process or continue on this thread? If mentor, where? Here under this topic or different area on the site?

Happy Hwys!

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6/9/17

OK! Went to the Academy today and had been told I was scheduled for CDL testing at 0700 hrs. My roommate and I arrived there about 0445 and then the others at 0530 on the Bluebird. The different classes divided and all of us to be tested for CDL met inside the classroom assigned to us. About 0700 the examiners took two or three (hard to remember now it is after midnight) and went outside to begin the examination process. You have to realize there is some preliminary paperwork before they go outside, but-I am describing the basic steps.

Outside they did a Pre-Trip Inspection, then entered the tractor cab to do a safety check and Air Brake Tests. Then they conducted their backing maneuvers which consisted of straight line backing, offset backing and a parallel parking maneuver. If done correctly then they "graduate" to the driving test. If completed within the point spread they received their hard earned CDL.

I was told up front that I was scheduled for 1330 in the afternoon and so there had been a change or miscommunication. I did not care as their time was my time, they are in control here. I am just a student and that's fine, that's the way it is and I certainly am a student. So the waiting began .... Right away one of the students(#1) returned as he failed the Air Brake test and this halted his CDL testing(although he had completed the Pre Trip Inspection test). He is to return the next week to try again.

Then another(#2) returned as he did something not acceptable in the first mile of the driving test (he did complete the Pre Trip Inspection, Air Brake test and backing maneuvers correctly though). Then #3 returned as this student completed the Pre Trip, Air Brake test and backing maneuvers. But agains something was wrong on the driving test and so failed. I think #3 may return in a while to the Academy to try again. So, that was three off the bat that failed.

Then they took three others (#4 and #5 and #6) and two went through each step and went out driving and eventually returned, our first CDLees in our class! One of the three failed.

After the initial failures, all this was done in driving rain coming down. I felt bad for all of them out there. All this worked to my advantage as each student would return with a "story" about their testing, be it good/bad, success/failure. I listened and kind of gleaned helpful information from all this. Also I started to handle my nerves and and calmed down as I saw there was nothing to be gained by walking around and being a basket of nerves. My habit is to pray and this I did and just got calmed down. By the time my turn came at 130 p.m., I was doing real well and it seems everyone had left. Except for the fellow ahead of me I was the only one waiting for testing. The only other people there were the other classes (way out on the other side of the course on the back range, and a couple of instructors in the office and an office worker.

My examiner came and asked me to come outside. Oh, by this time the rained had stopped and it was still pretty cloudy but not raining anymore. We did the pre-trip inspection, then I did my in cab safety check and air brake test. When we first got in the cab, i looked across to him, took a deep breath and let it out as slow as I could, and said, "Man, its a beautiful day isn't it?" He looked at me like I was nuts. It is a delaying tacking I use to some variation in public speaking. This gives me time to calm down and get my heart rate down, ha, ha!

Well got that done and did my backing maneuvers. Offset was great, parallel . . . i just put it in there. Neat, easy smeasy. Then he got in the cab and said something to this effect "congratulations, you have earned the right to test on the road". It made me smile. He got in the cab and we headed out and awhile later we returned. He said "congratulations you now have a CDL". Welcome words!! I thanked him for helping me realize this opportunity!

We went inside and I did paperwork and awhile later I was heading out. YeeeeeeeeeeeeeeHAW!!!!

Before I left I received a diploma and all and paperwork about reporting for orientation. All the instructors came by to congratulate me. It was real neat. I really appreciate them, I enjoyed each day and learned an awful lot, had a blast and if i had had to stay another week it would have been just a continuation of learning and having fun. BUT, am glad it's done.

I arrived home to Plainview, TX about midnight and will leave here on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 to head to Orientation at the Swift Lancaster Terminal at Dallas, TX. It is three days long, then assuming I complete that ok I will go out with my mentor and all that.

I am glad I went, I am glad I stuck it out, and I am glad I was last to be tested as it helped me to calm down. If you go to this Academy I would suggest in the start of your third week and if you wish to try to make it work to your advantage ask that you be tested late in the afternoon or last. This will give you time to hear about the others experiences, give you time to calm down also.

Night!

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6_08-17

Tired ... the word does not express it. I passed my backing and driving evaluation today and i am cleared to take my actual cdl exam tommorrow! Yeeeeeeeeeeeehaw!

Tomorrow I am scheduled to do pti, in cab n air brake tests and a driving test for TX -receiving my cdl, and then will drive home and report for company orientation on June 14.

It's been a great 3 weeks. Went by fast is for sure. If I do not make it tomorrow, I am here another week, and then re-test.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

OK, made it thru another day of driving. We went over our circular route working on shift and then left for Dallas, with ME ....... DRIVING! We got there about an hour later and then the instructor had me driving in a business/industrial area working on stops and turns. I switched out before lunch and someone else had a turn.

Wow, this was a good day and I learned a lot. One thing was on turning a curve turn from a stop one must keep the tandems in the right position (at the high point) so the tandems follow. And, that a driver must know where their tandems are at all times. Thus, one will avoid curbing. Something we do not want to do. We are ready to go again tomorrow and looking forward to it.

I am scheduled to take the evaluations/cdl test on this Friday. Well, we will see what happens days from now.

I must comment again on the quality of instruction I am receiving. The instructor we have is teaching me principles that I never received at the community college I went thru to obtain my cdl a few years ago. They have covered all the stuff I learned at the community college and have not stopped there. I think this is a great school and recommend it to anyone wishing to attend such and obtain a cdl.

There are a new crop of students and then there is the former new students in their second week and us, in our third and final week. It's pretty neat going along thru the process, leaning, applying what we have learned and all. The other two students I wrote about the other night are doing real well also and are right there with me. One is a little younger than me, say -55 years old and the the other is 25 years old.

Take care and read and comment. It's so encouraging to read comments. Thanks!

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6/4/17

I just re-read all my posts. Sorry to everyone for my misspelled words and bad grammar. I am trying to remember to proof read before I post and it helps of course.

Also, to Brett, I accidently hit he wrong button and "reported" my own post. Although there was no reason to. Please ignore. Thanks!

Please leave a comment if you read and thanks!

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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Swift Diary

6/3/17

We arrived to the Academy today and there had been a communication problem, so we four were sent back to the motel to take Sat AND Sun off. So that is nice as I am very tired.

As I stated yesterday, four of us were taken by an instructor and we went out all day to practice shifting. We each were able to drive for two hours and I understand that multiples up quite a bit from this time forward.

Maybe its time to talk about some of my fellow students, the four of us. Risky . . . . .

The other three are each different in personality, temperament and abilities.

One is a older fellow, like me, and we both are pretty good at all the backing drills, shifting and driving. This is due to our each having former experience with semi driving. There is a little language barrier but his english is very good and so most of the time his accent, not the language gets in the way. If that makes sense. Yesterday, when the four of us drove and did our shifting up and down we were given a morning hour and an afternoon hour. He and I each improved from morning to afternoon and so that was neat. I can speak for myself in that I had fun and learned some really good skills from the instructor, if that makes sense also. I feel the first time out was very productive and so am looking forward to more driving. This fellow I am describing also felt that way and the way it felt was . . . worth all the work we put into the class studies, and range backing/parking drills. And THAT was a lot of work if you can imagine. It was a good feeling, real feeling, confirming feeling, feeling like we are doing the right thing.

The other two I know less better. One pretty good as he is my room mate and the other fellow not really at all. He has been in the class but distant, always "almost late", breaking rules, etc.

My room mate is a young guy, like us trying to break into this business to make a way for himself. He is positive, very hard working, studies the material with intent and is effective. He listened when he was not getting the parallel parking. He listened to the instructor with greater attention and applied the "principles" and it worked for him. His parallel parking is about just perfect. He is 25 years old and has a wife and little baby boy, lucky guy. Amen. His driving behind the wheel was, well this is how he described it: "That was the first time I ever drove a stick shift!! It was a blast, exciting, fun, nervous at first but got used to it, it was fun. I, always, knew I needed to be cautious also, but it was fun." I think he as each of us, has a lot of potential and will represent the trucking industry in a very positive way. It's been great to make friends like these men. HA, I can say they are all younger than me. Wow, never thought of that till now. I am 64 years young. In the 65th year of my sojourn.

Finally, the other fellow.-We are all supposed to watch the student who is driving, or observe and listen to instructions from the instructor so as to learn. However, this fellow as soon as he gets in the back seat is knocked out, dead asleep. Also, We are not supposed to have or use our cell phones in the classroom, range, and of course, not in the truck. Well, yesterday was sitting behind the instructor, in the back bench seat and took his cell phone out and was texting, etc. I was sitting on the extreme other end of the bench and noticed a 12 volt outlet and pointed to it and said, "Hey, _________, you can charge your phone here at this outlet!" He motioned me to not say anything and to be quiet. I repeated it, you understand, just to be helpful, and it worked, he put his phone away. The other three of us really got a good laugh later about that. The bad side was, he went back to sleep. This hurt him later as his shifting really suffered.

Finally there is the instructor. Wow, I don't know how these types of folks can do this. They must have nerves of steel! How they can sit there and calmly tell you what to do and while this big machine is moving and all and not loose it is really admirable. Each of our instructors have seemed to me like top-notch people, high integrity, terrific abilities to teach, people of much experience, able communicators, effective in what they are doing. It would be fun to work with them. I admire them.

OK. This is it until Monday. I hope someone is reading this and getting a little enjoyment out of it. Please leave some comments and thanks again to TruckingTruth.Com and Brett for helping make this opportunity one I can take a hold of.

-Traffic Jam

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6/2/17 Sorry, don't mean to be rude but won't put any names here in this public forum.

Ok, today came to the classroom and four of us were sent out to drive on the roads of Corsicana, TX. I was fortunate to be one of them. Yay!!!!

When we returned later we found out that 5 of the others failed and are set back to try to do the week over. This was much higher than I thought. 7 of the original 15 are current except us four are ahead by a day to the other 3 as they had opted to wait until today to test. I presume to think they will start driving tomorrow.

I had a good time today as shifting is something I had covered already at Midland College Truck driving. AND lucky me - it's the same shifting pattern. We drove a circle route along I-45 down about 12 miles and back the other side. It was simply to have us shift up and then down. The four of us took turns and the instructor taught me some really good stuff on shifting, double clutching, turns, lane changes, and so on and so forth. We return tomorrow to practice some more and it will be our Friday and then we get Sunday off.

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment or two. It's 7 pm, and I must go to sleep. God bless!

David or "traffic Jam"

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Diary

6/1/17

Almost a Swiftie! I think I am going to start thinking that way now.

Today was more backing up am doing the maneuvers like off set parking and parallel parking. Coupling and uncoupling, Pre-trip inspections, air brake tests, in-car safety inspection. Lots of repetition, but that is a good learning methodology.

We lost one today, who did not report as he had a situation at home to deal with, so down to 12 from 15. Tomorrow is a major test day, and only a few have not already tested. I expect we might loose 1-3 tomorrow. Hope it's not as bad.

We are all pretty much helping and working together on this training. A sense of team work has gelled and so that is good. I took a group and we went to the local D.P.S. office and paid for our cdl test that will be done by "a third party tester" -instructor at the Academy next week.

I think on Sat we will start driving and then have Sunday off. Return to driving next Mon then and do that all week. So, the end is in sight. What did you feel like, Big-T, at this point?

By this time we have figured out which trucks have air conditioning and which ones don't, ha, ha. Most of the time I am on one with jine.

It's pretty hot, I am glad I am here now and not later in the summer when it gets really hot. Nonetheless, today at one point I was struggling and felt shaky on my feet. I drank some more water and sought out the shade where possible and completed the day. But the rest of the day I kept close tabs on my water bottle and the shade and etc. I did purchase a big sun hat from the local big box store a few days ago. When I wet it and put back on it really helps also. My feet were hurting also a little so ..... feeling it today. One day at a time though and it is all temporary so there is nothing to do but hang in there and work to accomplish the goal. A little pain will just make it that much more valuable in the end. I did all my parking drills over many times today to hone them down. It was good to do that. I also was able to get in a truck for a couple of hours to drill on PTI and etc. Nite!

-Traffic Jam

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