Profile For Banks

Banks's Info

  • Location:
    North East, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Preparing For School

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  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 5 months ago

Banks's Bio

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Posted:  17 hours, 39 minutes ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 18 (Week 5 Day 3)

Another doubles day, but I get an automatic today. I was excited because I was curious. I've heard you either love or hate an automatic. I missed shifting, but the ride was comfortable. It's way easier to slow down and hit the gear button to put in manual to go down a hill and just floor it to go up one.

I hooked up my doubles with no issues. I realized if I stop looking at the wall and just line up the tires, I'll have no issues. That's what I did. When my trainer asked what I did different, I told him. He said that's what all the road drivers do, but they're not allowed to teach that. I don't understand that, but it's above my pay grade.

My trainer did set me up today. I had a bad fuel cap. I checked it on the pretrip and it closed fine. When I went to hook it came loose and fuel splashed all over the place. I dropped the trailer and took the tractor to maintenance and they replaced the cap because the thread was worn. We had to clean the fuel spill with some quick dry and put it in hazmat bins. After cleaning it my trainer told me to take it to road dispatch, so I did. I asked the guy in road dispatch what do I do with this hazmat pail? I told him it's fuel and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said it doesn't go here. I told him I know it doesn't go here, I'm asking what do I do with it? He asked the operations manager and he said just set it down and told the dispatcher to label it. I've never seen a grown man throw such a hissy fit. The label is the size of an index card and all he had to do was full it out. He wanted the ops manager to write me up for spilling fuel. The ops manager told him he's not writing me up for that because it wasn't preventable, it was a maintenance issue. My trainer came in said we gotta go if you need any info on that spill for your little label call me. We went outside and he said I knew what we were supposed to do with that, but I wanted you to get your first taste of dealing with road dispatch. He's always like that.

confused.gifwtf-2.gif

Once on the road we headed to another terminal about 150 miles away. I had to do the same thing I did yesterday. Drop and then hook. No issues because I looked at my tires. I dropped and hooked that set in 45 minutes.

Back at the terminal, the guy in charge of the drive development program came over and told me "hurry up, road dispatch wants to give you your write up". I told him I wouldn't laugh too hard, I heard he's being promoted. He's going to be your boss. He said "I'd quit".

End of the day progress report was clean.

Posted:  1 day, 17 hours ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 17 (week 5 day 2)

We're doing doubles today. I did my thorough pretrip on the tractor and grabbed a dolly. Did a pretrip on the dolly then backed it up to a pup. Dollies are tough because you have to catch the drift immediately to keep it straight. I had to pull up and back up a number of times to get it where I wanted it. It weighs 3K so doing by hand is not allowed to prevent injury. Once I dropped the dolly, I went and grabbed another pup. The hard part is lining it up perfectly. Being off by a couple of inches won't work. I had to do a few pullups to get it lined up right. It took me about 45 minutes to hook up the set. I did a whole pretrip and then we took off to another terminal that's about an hour away. Once there I had to break down the set and then put it together again. Dropping and hooking took about an hour. We took our 30 then it was time to head back. On the drive back my trainer told me that if I have to do this and it's 2AM and nobody is around to help then take some pictures and call him. He'd rather wake up than me take a chance and do something that isn't safe.

On the driver back, he instructed me to go a different way. We pulled into an empty parking lot and he told he to break it down and put it together again. He said he could tell I used the lines at both terminals and that's fine when they're there, but they're not always there. He wanted me to hook up doubles with no lines on the ground. I was about to get the dolly lined up, but I wasn't able to get my trailer right in front. I tried for an hour and 20 minutes he had to take over and do it. We were running out of time and we have to be back by a certain time because I'm not supposed to get overtime while in training. He took the trailer pulled up and backed it in with no issues. It took a total of 5 minutes. He said not to feel bad. He's been doing it for a long time and I'll get to that skill level. It takes time.

Back at the terminal I dropped my trailers, parked the dolly and that was the day.

My progress report said I have to work on getting my lead trailer lined up properly. 2 out of 3 isn't bad for my first time. I'll take it.

Posted:  1 day, 17 hours ago

View Topic:

FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Gotta watch that wagon! Checking those mirrors keeps you out of the ditch ( or other obstacle) and keeps you employed, so take it slow and listen to that awesome trainer you have.

It was definitely a lesson learned. I know better now.

Posted:  2 days, 15 hours ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 16 (Week 5 Day 1)

I thought I was getting an automatic. Somebody took it so I got my usual manual. I did a thorough pretrip and we were off. Day 1 of advanced was taking a 48' trailer through some busy areas. A lot of traffic and pedestrians. The hardest part was the right turns. I hit a few curbs. I let other vehicles dictate when I cut my turn off and started bringing it back to the right. My trainer said that I can't let them dictate what I do because that's how accidents happen. He told me to make my turn like I normally would and if I can't go forward anymore then I can't forward anymore. They're going to have to move because they're way passed the stop line and blocking traffic. He said if that curb was a car I would've hit it. And apparently there are a bunch of babies hanging out on corners.

Heading back to the terminal, somebody took out some electrical lines. Unexpected detour. This sucked. I can't put it any other way. Roads were slanted and I had to keep moving into the lane for oncoming traffic to correct my off track. Once I finally got to a major roadway, I had to make a right. All of a sudden my trainer yells for me to stop so I stopped. My trailer wheels were heading towards a ditch. He told me to let all the cars pass and then turn all the way left. Once I cleared the ditch I had to bring it back to the right. He explained that if my trailer wheels would've went into the ditch it would've flipped us because we're riding empty. I have to watch my off tracking more closely.

Back at the terminal, I practiced bumping docks until the end of the day. Did some 90s, 45s and straight backs into dock doors. End of the day progress report said I have to work on my right turns. I'll take that for a Monday. My Mondays tend to be a lot worse. My shifting was great today. No missed gears, no grinding and I released the clutch slowly so it didn't do that abrupt take off resulting in a minor case of whiplash.

Posted:  3 days, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Nervous!

From what I was told, having no experience with a standard is beneficial because you're a clean slate.

When driving backwards the trailer moves opposite the wheel. You turn right the trailer goes left. Small steers go a long way so don't oversteer.

I always stop and talk to myself. Which way do I want the trailer to go? I want it to go left so I'll turn right. When I'm driving I say the gear I'm in out loud. It makes it easier to remember. I also read the signs out loud. During my road test, the exam guy never asked me about signs because I just read them off as I drove. I also wore a hat during my test that way the examiner could tell my head was checking mirrors even though he wasn't looking directly at me.

That's all I have for now. Welcome aboard and ask any questions you may have.

Posted:  4 days ago

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Doing The Happy Dance.. My sweetie is doing better

I'm glad he's doing better, Susan. It's a great thing that you can take your 10s close to home and they're willing to work with you. Thankfully, this happened now and not when we was alone. Glass half full kind of deal. Health always come first. I wish you guys all the best.

Posted:  4 days, 1 hour ago

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Using The Throttle While Letting Out On The Clutch

On the state test I used third gear to pull off. You can't shift in intersections or during turns. I pulled off in third got up to fourth immediately and put both hands back on the wheel so I wouldn't shift accidentally. It sucks going through an intersection at 10MPH, but that's what you have to do.

Posted:  4 days, 1 hour ago

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Are Volvo trucks all automatic?

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All the newer truck are automatic.

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Not true Old Dominion buys all manuals, so does some other companies, you can order a new truck with what ever you feel your company needs.

I meant in our fleet. I thought I included that.

Posted:  4 days, 3 hours ago

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Swift hair follicle test

I let the hair on my head grow for a couple of months before going off to CFI. It was still to short, she shaved my back and a stripe across my chest. I was only worried I would have enough hair for them to test. Cutting your hair won't change the results. If you have not been clean for long enough or can't stay clean, don't drive an 80,000 pound death machine.

I don't know if I'd let them shave my back. Shaving leads to itchiness and an itchy back out on the road alone sounds horrible lol

Posted:  4 days, 4 hours ago

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Are Volvo trucks all automatic?

No they are not. Companies get what they order. It doesn't matter what you train on. Manuals are fading away. It's easier to learn on the autoshift and it will be easier to test in a manual, later on, if you ever want to remove the restriction.

I've never driven an automatic, but I can say a manual is a huge distraction when there's a lot going on. As you get better with it, it's less distracting. Manuals are also being phased out. I'm using a 2006 Volvo with 2 million miles on it to learn how to drive. All the newer truck are automatic.

Posted:  4 days, 22 hours ago

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Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status

My guess would be that they needed more money. They can't toll the only major highway in half of the state because they'd likely lose the next election. Do you know who else uses that highway regularly and doesn't have a say in the election? Truckers.

Posted:  5 days, 1 hour ago

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Using The Throttle While Letting Out On The Clutch

I learned how to shift on a whiteboard because I didn't understand it in practice. The way it was explained to me, speed and RPM have to match the gear. This varies truck to truck. In the truck I used it was the usual system

1+5=6 15 MPH is 6th gear 2+5=7 25 MPH is 7th gear

Add to that using RPM. You want 1000 RPM for each gear after idling. So if the truck idles at 500 RPM 6th gear would be 1,000 RPM, 7th would be 1,100, 8th would be 1,200 etc.

When down shifting you need to drop the speed to the lower end of the window. So if I'm going from 8th to 7th I want the speed at 20 instead of 25. Because I'm slowing down the RPMs drop so I have to give it a bump. I bump the accelerator while in neutral so the RPM jumps to 1,100.

Down shifting is clutch, bump, clutch Up shifting is clutch clutch

This may sound confusing, but in practice it worked well for me and my shifting has improved drastically in a short amount of time. I've never driven a manual and 2 weeks ago, I couldn't go from 2 to 3 without stalling out.

Posted:  5 days, 2 hours ago

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Choosing a right CDL school

I was in your same position about 2 years ago. I was about to pay 4500 to go to school myself, but I got into a car accident. The uncertainty of that situation made me hesitant and it also drained that 4500 pretty quickly. So, I applied for the driver apprentice program at FedEx. I'm glad I did. There were other people there that went to the school I planned on going to and the way they described it, it sounded horrible. 5 or 6 students riding in a truck stuffed in a sleeper. I received personalized training and I got paid while I received it. I was on the clock when I took my road test.

I understand not wanting to leave your family. A school is only going to teach you how to pass a test. A company sponsored program passes experience on to you. That's the difference. You're getting set up to succeed, where a school doesn't care what you do once they have your money. I'm not going to lie, I figured Brett and these guys were pushing these programs for kickbacks. After the fact, I realize they're all right. I have my own experience and the experiences of others to compare it.

The last part is even if you do pay for school and get your CDL, you're still having to go out with a trainer. Why not save that 4500 take an expedited course that guarantees you a job in the end. There's no avoiding the training part.

Posted:  5 days, 13 hours ago

View Topic:

LME- LTL shuts down

Numerous articles related to the Lakeville Motor Express bankruptcy suggest that the owners bankrupted the union carrier, resurfacing as a non-union carrier under LME and Finish Line Express brands. The NLRB ordered the $1.25 million in backpay to be paid starting within 60 days from April 30, 2019, or the amount would double to $2.4 million. It is not known if the backpay or fines were the cause of the sudden closure. 

This evening, the corporate website has a notice that says “effective immediately LME will no longer be accepting any pickups.” The Facebook page also linked to the company’s website was also down. 

According to a Google search

Posted:  5 days, 13 hours ago

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ABF Driver Development Program Opportunity, Your thoughts .

It depends on where you are. Since the yard is only 20 minutes away, I would talk to some of those guys and ask their opinions on it. Ltl is different because while there's a set way of doing things, terminals operate independently. There's no way anybody can tell you anything a Google search won't turn up. To get real opinions you have to talk to them.

I don't know much about Union jobs, but from the guys at FXF that used to be at UPSF, they say they just sat by the phone a lot. They'd get runs or p/d runs, but they weren't enough to make decent money because the guys with seniority were taking the runs. Again, this varies based on how busy/understaffed a terminal is. Best bet, talk to people out of that barn.

Best of luck.

Posted:  6 days ago

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Storm

Yeah, come out to the exciting West lol...... We've had like 3 earthquakes in a week or so, all 3, in or around Ridgecrest/95 miles away.....Sitting here I felt a small 1 roll by softly this morning @ 6:10 am Probably related to the 6.4, then the following next day a 7.1....That was a longe,r rolling ride here in my 5th wheel....I kept waiting for stuff to fall on the floor lol

Nope. I'll stick to my mountains, hills and snow. The only time my truck shakes is when I'm in the wrong gear. I'd like to keep it that way.

Posted:  6 days, 15 hours ago

View Topic:

FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

That’s a good trainer!

He's awesome. I don't think I would've gotten this far with another trainer. The 1 on 1 aspect of this makes it work even better. After a month of working together there's an investment there that he wants to see a return on. It's my job to make sure he sees it.

Posted:  6 days, 16 hours ago

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Delivering to Grocery Stores

I would've worked on Independence day if I was allowed to. But only drivers were allowed to sign up. I'll get them next year. The seniority thing is new to me, but things move so fast here that there are already 10 guys under me with more coming in. I don't know what that means, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know. I enjoy your updates, keep them coming.

Posted:  6 days, 16 hours ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 15 (Week 4 Day 4)

I walked in to a bunch of congratulations. Then my day got a little worse. My own fault. I did a lazy pretrip. My trainer was not happy. He said

"We don't do pretrips because the state requires it or for some test that you can pass by watching a YouTube video. We do it for our own safety and the safety and the safety of everybody around us. If you're doing 65 weighing 70 or 80 thousand pounds and your tire falls off somebody can die. Not only do you have that weighing on you, but now you're looking at vehicular manslaughter because they're going to tear this vehicle apart looking for the cause. If they find that it could have been prevented, but you signed off saying it was good what's going to happen? What if you're going down a hill and your brakes fail? Do you think that little guard rail is going to stop you from going over? What's your family going to do? It's not too be a hard ass it's so that you understand what's on the line here and that it's serious. You're not the first student to get a CDL and do a bs pretrip. Don't start slipping now. Do it the way you know how to do it because a short cut won't get you far".

That made it sink in and I will absolutely take it more seriously. We left the lot and I had to do a big lap around the surrounding area. It included hills, rural areas, busy towns and highways. My shifting got a lot better because I let off the clutch gently instead of letting it fly up. Once I completed that lap we went back to the yard so I could start learning how to hook doubles. There wasn't a lot of time left so I just practiced lining up 2 pups.

While we were driving around we discussed a lot of things, but a lot of it revolved around salary expectations as a city driver. He told me my first year I'll make between 45 and 60K. My second year will be 55 to 70 and by top pay it would be between 60 and 80. He said by top pay I should be able to bid on road runs and they see anywhere between 75 and over 100 a year, but the trade off is they're never home. They burn their clocks everyday. I'll play it by ear. I'm too early in this to think that far ahead.

End of the day progress report was clean. I finished basic week and I'm on to advanced.

Posted:  6 days, 16 hours ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Thanks Amy and PackRat.

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