Comments By Banks

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  • Banks
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  • 1 year, 6 months ago
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Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Is classroom time mostly a waste of time in cdl training programs?

I didn't go to s school so I don't know what an accredited course looks like.

Things I learned in a classroom: 1) how to handle downgrades 2) how to cross railroad tracks with hazmat 3) how to do a proper pull up 4) how to shift 5) so much Smith system 6) what turning lane to use and what lane to turn into when there are multiple lanes 7) how to do an emergency pull over

Can these things be learned in practice? Yes, but this is what worked for me. I was able to visualize everything better and apply the things I learned when it was time to.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Man, is it hard being back on the dock. After spending 6 to 7 weeks loving life driving a truck, I'm back in the environment I fought so hard to get out of.

It's hard to stay positive because I'm surrounded by terminal rats. Dock workers telling you why they'd never drive, drivers telling you how FedEx has done them wrong and it's frustrating. I tend to stay to myself, but I don't want to be rude when someone engages me in conversation. I try to tell them what they can do differently. Give them top tier driver advice that I learned here and they brush it off because I'm new. What makes it hard is that after spending 7 weeks with top tier drivers that love the company and appreciate the opportunities they were given, I'm now in an environment that I call the black hole. I call it that because of the crabs in the barrel mentality. Everybody pulling each other down.

The main example of this is a driver I got paired with to unload a trailer. The first thing he tells me is that he hates midnight shifts. I ask how high he was on the list and he told me 50s. I asked why he didn't take noon unassigned. He said he doesn't want to drive. Driving a truck makes you fat and he doesn't want to spend his entire day there. We split up. I take my pallet he takes his and we end up back at the trailer at the same time. He tells me that he's not making enough money and FedEx is wrong for scraping over time. I ask him if he volunteers to do weekend runs and he replied that his weekends are his. He's not giving them to FedEx. I told him that sometimes city dispatch has some drop and hook assignments maybe he can go grab one before clocking out. Can't do it because he's tired.

It's draining to have conversations like this when I'm trying to keep my eye on the prize and stay positive. Fortunately, this is my last week running hub freight and I can separate myself a little more.

I do plan on taking Auggies advice and volunteering for any runs they have available, but I can't do that until I'm officially a city driver. I am not an official city driver until I sign the offer letter.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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SOO Fed UP!!!!!

When you ran your company were you an employee of the company? Did you get a W-2 or file a1099? If not, they may view you as unemployed for the last 20 years.

Trucking is the one thing (that isn't government related) that truly vets candidates. They contact employers and when they don't hear back from those employers that want tax returns or w-2s to prove you worked there.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Toiletries, flashlight, some non-perishable foods, and some bottled water.

I will add those items. Thanks PackRat. I also threw in a cable and plug for my phone.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

There's only 2 of us with a 0200 start time. We load city trailers and take road runs when he have to. If I have to load trailers, I prefer city. No decks and no stacking. I got a chance to speak to the guy that did the shift before (he went to road). He said he would go out at least 2 nights a week, but sometimes it would be after working the dock 4 or 5 hours.

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely make it a point to stop by road and city to bug them. I also see it as having some overtime opportunity. At the very least, I'll be able to pad my check with the road runs.

I'm packing a bag to keep in my car for when I do have to go out. In it I have a change of clothes (in case I get stuck), gloves, a blanket, a tire gauge, rubber grommets and my medical card, is there anything I'm missing?

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Hours, food service.

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Where do you live? LTL compaines for P&D work might be a good fit for you. At Old Dominion you generally would not work more than 50 to 55 hours in a week. most LTL would have you working about the same amount of hours as I understand it.

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I'm in Ohio. Dayton. I know we've got Dayton Freight. I might ask them. While I've got some attention is 2 years about enough experience to bail? And will only driving a 48' trailer matter? Do I load and unload P&D? My ultimate goal is to make decent money, not get obese, and also not work 70, reset and do it again till I die.

You unload P&D you don't load. Although there are instances where it's in your best interest to arrange things in a manner that works for you. Most of the stops are docks or have forklifts, but sometimes you get the ones you do by hand (usually residential). You're looking at about 50 to 55 hours a week. At FedEx we use 48s for p&d majority of the time. You are restricted to one area, but there may be days when you get sent a little out of your way because the driver there can't make a pick up. Being at the bottom of the list may require some dock work, but you move up pretty fast. You might not be able to break the top 15 because those guys don't leave or move, but you'll be high enough where the dock is non existent to you.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Hours, food service.

I spent about a year at a half working for PFG (performance food group) home terminal in Rock Island ill. What you described in many ways brought back many memories. Between my time as a delivery driver or the 2 years I worked at sysco warehouse I was constantly told they dont care how things get done as long as they get done. In foodservice it's a double edged sword. You work harder to get done earlier or make more $$ if you're on incentive pay (sysco) and they continue to add more stops and cases because you've demonstrated you can do it. I delivered a pup trailer 5 days a week and I had 7 to 800 cases, close to 20,000 pounds most days. There was one day they had given me 24 or 25 stops and when I ended up sending back 4 stops they gave me grief about it. They told me that I was only scheduled 13 hours and I need to hurry up. They got quiet pretty quickly after I showed them several stops had me arriving and leaving at the same time to make it look possible. The reason they kept piling stuff on me was because I showed I could do it. When I quit one of the guys I worked with came with me. In our yard we had 3 trucks always loaded to the tail. Since we left they now have 5 trucks with only 10,000 pounds on each. Have you considered doing P&D? You wouldn't be driving most of the day, instead youd be sitting in loading docks. Some members here have said they make about 70k.

A lot of the guys I work with clear 70 without a problem. I'm not anywhere near that because I came in with no experience and spent 3 or 4 months as a driver apprentice, but I should be able to clear 50. I think somebody with food service experience would have no trouble doing P&d. The only thing they may not like is the dock part of it.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Direction to go?

Ok.... I took the school’s test and got a 97 on maneuvers. Nicked a cone on the lane change... but the alley dock I got. Still need to make sure I have a good supply of pull ups on my state test in case I get blind side parallel... don’t have that one mastered yet. Need some practice on downshifting and right turns, narrow ones I still get really close to or hit the curbs.

Don't sweat it. I had all the same issues. I was scared to downshift and now I'll drop from 10th to 5th with no problems. I had all of the same problems you are and on some days I still do. Just stop and think about what you're doing and what you want the trailer to do.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Marten @ .62 per mile

Only way to find out is to call a recruiter.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

This whole post is very interesting , great details !. .... Maybe I should check with FedEx in Indianapolis ??? Hmmmm

You can, it's a great company and I have no complaints. Just keep in mind that its all seniority based. You will get the scraps nobody wants and nobody wants them for a reason. Or you can just get stuck on the dock until they need you. They may not need you. My mentor went just under a year without driving his first year. The guys that do linehaul or road runs have been there for years and built up the seniority to get in they group, but now there at the bottom of that list. That means erratic hours, long hours and weekends. Also, not driving when they tell you to isn't an option. If it's snowing and they're running you're going out if they need you to. Which means you can end up at a truck stop would no sleeper. If you can get to a hotel, they'll pay for it. If you can't, that's tough. I've spoken to guys that have sat on at truck stops for 12 to 24 hours waiting for the interstate to open.

Right now I'm back to over night dock life. That's 5- 8 hour shifts with some runs thrown in. That's the shift nobody wants, that's how I ended up with it. Bottom of the totem pole. I'm all the way at the bottom so I didn't even get to bid. They said "this is what's left so this is what you're doing". I'm ok with that. I'm in this for the long haul and I'm only 34. That's a decent long haul. I don't think I would to get into LTL close to retirement.

The days with my mentor were all 10 to 13 hour days. Very hard physical labor. Moving pallets around and at some locations having to carry heavy freight off the truck. Nothing about this is adventurous or fun. For me it was about wanting to get out of a warehouse and doing something that I can take with me even if I'm no longer with the company. My goal was to be OTR for the adventure aspect of it. Regional was my back up for home time and LTL is where I landed because I have to be home for personal reasons. At some point when I have some more flexibility (when the kids are grown and home is more stable) I'd like to follow through and go OTR.

If you're looking for an adventure or to see new things. LTL isn't the place for it. Doing LTL you see the same things you can see by driving around in your car for a few hours and that's it.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

One thing that stood out to me was, FedEx not allowing you to push dollies, we are allowed to but I trybto avoid it as it sucks at times to push them.

Another other thing that stood out to me was not teaching guys to line up a set by using the tires to rail method, that is how I was tought. In fact I was going to do that way but you already figured it out, it really is the easiest and fastest way to line up.

If you have any question ill be glad to help if I can

I understand the logic in creating a policy. I'm guessing a lot of people got hurt trying to move them. I've seen people do it, but since I'm a FedEx student and I wasn't taught to do it that way, it's most likely a write up.

I don't understand why they wouldn't just let me line up the tires. It's hard to line up walls because things disappear as you move in reverse, but I can always see the tires.

I appreciate the offer, Bob. I'm definitely keep it in mind.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Great info Banks !!!!!!!!!

I will be following for sure. Hoping to get into trucking too when I get back to the states. I like the way you go into detail. Hope all goes well and seems like you are doing fine.

I'm glad you're enjoying it. I'm enjoying it a lot. If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer them and if I don't know, I'll find an answer for you.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Company Questions

Brett sums it up pretty well. I'm doing LTL now because I can't be gone for weeks at a time. But I'd rather be outside than in a warehouse. That's why I plan on staying extra board as long as possible.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Thanks Pack Rat and Bob.

I don't think there's much difference, Bob. I talk to everybody and standing around waiting to be loaded or unload I'll run into the guy from OD or YRC and they'll say it's all the same. The only difference is the color of the truck. Like the mods say about the megas, the CPM may vary, but in the end it's all the same deal with minor differences.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Company Questions

Check out the last page of my diary in the forum diary section. It'll give you a good idea of what day to day city driver life is like.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 23 (Week 6 Day 4)

This morning I received my bid assignment. I ended up with 0200 unassigned. I was a little disappointed at first, but after some thought it's not that bad. I still have the whole day to take care of what I have to take care of and I don't have to be in the hub at the hottest point of the day. Also, I'm more likely to get road runs. At first, I figured I'll do city runs if I have to but I'd rather take road runs. I have absolutely no chance of taking a city run at this time.

Today was pretty light. 5 deliveries and 3 pick ups in another new town. The first one was a tough blind side 90. It took me a little while to get in there. It was a little stressful because it was an appointment deliver for 1200 and by 1200 I was still trying to bump the dock. They were understanding and really nice about it. It took me about 30 minutes to get in there.

The second stop was at a construction site. I learned to never ask a guy that doesn't drive a truck if you can exit by going around the building. The space was really tight, but it was too late to back out. My mirrors were inches away from the building and my tires were inches away from hanging off a cliff.

The third was at a place that builds trailers. The kind that you hook up to a pickup truck. They unloaded me with a forklift so there was no backing.

The fourth was weird. I had to drive on this tiny driceway that went across a lake. It was probably 10 feet wide with water on both sides and no guardrails.

The last stop was a place that manufacturers gas. Not fuel gas, literally gas. Before being allowed in the building I had to watch a 10 minute safety video, put on a hazmat suit, safety glasses and a reflective vest. I was desperate to get out of there. It was way too hot to have all of that stuff on.

My pickups were easy. All docks that had enough space for me to straight back. Back at the hub, I got an easy door that allowed for a straight back.

I'm officially done with my apprenticeship. I will have my city driver offer letter by the end of next week. My hourly rate goes up to 22.58 an hour and I get 0.5477 CPM for road runs.

I'll update this periodically like Rob did with his food service diary. Thanks for following and for all of the support.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Help with BACKING

Offset towards passenger side

Turn the wheel one full rotation left and begin backing. When the cone disappears from the bottom mirror begin turning right until your straight then stop. You should see the cone in the driver side mirror. Back up and bring the tire close to the cone. After you get passed the cone start working on getting your trailer parallel to the cone.

Offset towards driver side

Same thing as above but you're using the top mirror. Ignore the bottom mirror. Once the cone disappears line up your tractor and trailer and you should be able to see what you have to see in the passenger side mirror.

When doing a pull up you want to pull your trailer away from the corner in danger by turning towards it. If your bumper is close to the right side pull up to the right. Same with the left. Pull up towards the left.

Remember when backing left swings your trailer right and right swings it left. Say it before you move to avoid erroneous turns because of instincts.

It's important that you go as slow as possible. Your reflexes and instincts aren't there for speed.

Full disclaimer, this is how I learned to do it for the state test and it worked every time. It's a little more difficult in real situations.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Any tech gurus wanna take a shot at my phone/app problem?

You can get pretty decent deal on a used Samsung 8 series phone. I bought mine used for 300.

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Test day

Good luck to both of you guys. Just act like that examiner isn't there and do your thing. Talk to yourself if you have to.

good-luck.gif

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Day 22 (Week 6 Day 3)

I didn't get to bid. They never got up to me. Apparently, guys driving trucks don't answer their phones. Maybe tomorrow.

Today was a lot like Monday. We went to the same town. A few differences though. We had 13 stops and 5 pick ups. I didn't drive all of it because we were pressed for time, but I drove most of it and did all of the backing. The only time I didn't drive or back was when I was on my 30.

The guy from Monday that didn't care about me being new was indifferent today. I'll call that a step up. I bumped his dock with no issues so he didn't complain as much.

There was one lady that was mad today. We got there at 1630 and she said we're supposed to be there by 1500. My mentor explained that there is no specified time on the paperwork. She argued that FedEx knows and he said he only knows what's on the paperwork. He told her options were accept it or refuse it. She ultimately accepted it, but she was really nasty about it. I'm hopping I'm able to get to road sooner rather later just to not have to deal with stuff like that. Everybody else was really nice.

I almost got into an accident today. An older lady just blew through a yield sign. Didn't look or anything. My stomach still hurts over that one.

Back at the hub I got an easy door to back into. A straight back. I went into the office to see how far they got into bids. They had an idea but the guy making the calls was gone for the day. He didn't finish so he didn't get up to me because I'm last.

Progress report was clean.

I scheduled off tomorrow because I have some things to take care of. I have to make up the hours on Friday. That's why this option works for me. I have too much going on at home to be gone for long periods of time. It's still something I want to do, but maybe I'll do it in retirement like old school.

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