Comments By Dart

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  • Dart
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Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Swift Orientation Monday

Something else I was curious about....I've heard conflicting reports regarding how much time your mentor is allowed to give you behind the wheel each day in the beginning. A guy in my class told me his recruiter told him they're only allowed like 3 or 4 hours a day to start with. I wondered if that was true and if that's standard operating procedure for newbies or if it's ran on a case by case basis. Like if my mentor decides if I can handle it will he allow me to run full days (8 to 10 hours or whatever the case may be) from the beginning? I'm hoping thats the case so I can get a jump start on those hours as well as rack up some experience. I realize I shouldn't rush things but at the same time I'm really eager to get going.

After my ordeal with Roehl, my first day behind the wheel with Swift I drove about 6 or 8 hours. After that I typically get 450+ miles per day, with a couple lucky days in the 600 mile range. I'm wrapping up my 2nd week with a mentor and just finished an 11 hour driving day yesterday.

It will largely depend on you and how long you can remain alert. Don't rush yourself to do the big mile days early on. I've done 1,000 mile days in a car before driving a truck, but when I got behind the wheel of a truck 6-8 hours a day was all I could do before I was completely beat. Over time you will build up the stamina to run longer.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Swift Orientation Monday

Thanks for the tips, Dart. One concern I have about something you posted. I don't live too far from the terminal I will be going to orientation at so I will be driving there each day. You said something about surrendering my license. This will be an issue if I am going to drive home each night. Will they give it back to me so I can legally drive home each night?

They return your license to you before you take the road test. If you don't take your road test day 1 and they don't return it to you by the end of the day, talk to the orientation instructor before you leave for day 1, I'm sure they'll work with you.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Swift Orientation Monday

Almost forgot...what to bring.

Clothes for about a week. Truck stops and terminals have laundry facilities that you can use while on your 10 hour break. If you can, get a small package of laundry soap pouches (3 or 4 pouches should typically be enough) or purchase single use from the laundry room.

Toiletries...normal hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, razor, etc...), shower shoes (never know what kind of nasties are crawling around a public shower), a towel and washcloth (or loufa) for when showering at the terminal (truck stops typically provide clean towels and washcloths), any other anti-funk products you may need (foot powder, deodorant, aftershave, etc...), and any medications you may need (prescription, anti-fungal, antacids, etc...).

Work gloves and sunglasses. You will want to have a good pair of work gloves that will keep diesel fuel and grease off of your hands while doing pre-trip inspections, fueling, and trailer hooking/unhooking. Sunglasses, while not necessary, are very nice to have especially when driving into the rising or setting sun.

Pens and notebook. These come in handy for writing down load information and taking notes while talking with your mentor or during orientation.

Sleeping gear...at a minimum you'll need a sheet and blanket or sleeping bag.

Other supplies...12V (cigarette lighter plug) chargers for any electronics you bring (e-cigarette, cell phone, tablet, razor, etc...). If you smoke or vape, bring enough to get you through 3-4 weeks. Cigarettes are expensive at truck stops and vaping supplies are tough to come by on the road (especially if you use mods). When bringing nicotine devices, take into account increased usage if you use more while you drive. If you are a vaper, it may be a good idea to bring extra tanks (or higher capacity tanks) to "hot swap" tanks instead of filling while driving. If you are like me and need to sleep with a fan, bring a 12V car fan for the nights that the truck isn't running.

Lastly, a tip for packing. Your mentor may or may not have space cleared out for you to store your things. Expect to sleep with whatever you bring. Not sure if you packed to much? Find a twin bed and put your bags in the bed and lay down with them as if you're going to go to sleep. If you can't get comfortable, you packed too much or not tightly enough.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Swift Orientation Monday

If the orientation experience is similar at all terminals (I went to Lancaster for mine on September 18th), it should go something like this...

Day 1...surrender CDL and short/long form DOT medical cards (you'll get your CDL back before the road test and medical cards back by the end of day 3), drug tests, road tests, and A LOT of waiting around.

Day 2 and 3...wrapping up road tests that didn't get completed day 1 and retests for some of those that didn't do well enough on day 1, then death by PowerPoint for the remainder of the day and day 3.

Before you leave on day 3, you should at least know who your mentor will be and when he's (or she in some cases) supposed to be there.

Once out with your mentor, you will be doing most, of not all, of the driving for your first 50 hours of behind the wheel time. After that, your mentor will decide if you are ready to run teams (some may prefer to run "super solo" for the majority of your time with them). The remaining 150 hours may be run as a team (you have to have at least 200 hours of behind the wheel time before you can take the upgrade tests to go solo.).

For at least some of the time that you are with your mentor, you will be doing paper logs to ensure you know how to do them just in case the Qualcomm goes out.

You will also be logging all of your backs (at least 40 of them). There are some backs that you have to do. Day, night, angle, straight, and blind side backs have to be logged. You have to do a certain number of each back, then just log what type of back you do.

You should also receive several performance reviews from your mentor as you reach landmarks (50 hours, 100 hours, etc...).

Hopefully this will give yoy a bit more of an insight as to what to expect. If you have any more questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Training my wife at Swift

I would imagine so. When I went through Swift orientation a couple of weeks ago (Lancaster, TX terminal), a mom with several months of driving experience brought her son with her (who only has a few weeka of experience). She went through the mentor class the for the day and a half after orientation and is now training him. Once his training phase is complete, they plan on teaming for a while.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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About to Start Training with Roehl

My Swift orientation is now complete. Days 2 and 3 were both just waiting, slideshows, and paperwork.

Met up with my long time friend and received confirmation that he will be training me. Ate dinner and caught up with hom for a while before heading back to the hotel where I'll stay tonight.

Tomorrow I will be checking out of the hotel and moving on to my friend/mentor's truck. We're looking at a Friday afternoon departure.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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About to Start Training with Roehl

Day 1 at Swift orientation.

Pretty boring all around. Morning was spent doing drug testing and DoT physicals for those that didn't have the proper paperwork. We also filled out some forms on TenStreet and some started their road tests.

Then the AMAZING (famous even) Swift Lancaster lunch. I had BBQ chicken with mac and cheese, rice, and bread. There were several other awesome looking choices...I just had to get the BBQ because that sweet smell hit me when I walked through the door.

After lunch we did the food safety stuff (which I did at Roehl twice, it was simple so I didn't push it), then finished road tests.

My road test was is a KW T680 with an 8 speed (yes, an 8 speed). It was a VERY short drive (maybe 5 or 10 minutes behind the wheel). I feel I did well, but the 8 speed tripped me up once when shifting to high range (I wanted to shift to what would be 6th on a 10 speed, but is a low gear on the 8). It really felt good to be back behind the wheel.

It's also looking like my friend will be my trainer. It's also nice that they provide for situations like this. There's a mother/son team here where she has some experience and he doesn't. Swift is allowing her to take the mentor class to train him so they can run team later. Pretty cool.

Gotta run. Just figured I'd pop in with a quick update.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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About to Start Training with Roehl

Good luck at Swift. I'm in my last day of orientation at Werner. I will go out with training on Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks!!! Awesome to hear. Good luck to you at Werner as well.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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About to Start Training with Roehl

Thank you all for the well wishes.

After a few disappointments, I'm now scheduled for orientation with Swift on Monday. Time to move on and put my previous setbacks behind me.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Company Training and Non-Compete

I'm getting a second chance to pursue my dream. I'm now scheduled for orientation with Swift at the Lancaster, TX terminal on Monday. It's also looking like things are lining up for my friend to train me.

Armed with the knowledge I've learned from my time at Roehl and from speaking with everyone here, I will make it work this time.

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