Profile For Sparky

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    1 year, 4 months ago

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Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Leaving dryvan to go to Flatbed

I'm still with Swift, but I'll no longer be doing their dryvan side of things. Someone from Phoenix got in contact with me and asked if I wanted to do flatbed (I had sent in an email a few months ago saying I was interested but they wanted me to have a few more months of driving experience before switching).

I go to flatbed orientation next week for Swift, but I'm kind of scared/excited. I've done a lot of research into flatbed and the hassles and struggles it offers but I like physical labor.

That and I was offered a job with System Transport and I heard they were good at training people like me with no flatbed experience and were a overall good company but I know Swift and I like it here. Plus I can bring my cat along in the truck at Swift, can't with System. So a totally new adventure awaits me next week.

Posted:  3 weeks, 5 days ago

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Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3

Not going to vote for someone who is a public figure and refuses to wear a mask, of all things.

Also not going to vote for someone who looks like they are about to fall over any moment.

That being said, the electoral college decides, not our vote. :)

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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When to know how to start your backing

Soni was with my mentor and he always said "go this many trucks past" but I still never understood when to stop. If I want to do a offset doni just align my mirror to the center of the spot I want to back in and pull away until I am facing 12 o'clock then 9o'clock then just start backing in? How do I know when the setup is complete? He always said "go past this many trucks then start turning away" but what if I'm at the end and there are no trucks to measure that with?

I would keep asking "okay but how do I know when I am at the point when I want to start setting up for my back? How do I know how to set up?" And he just always said "past this truck start turning " but that didn't help me. Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted:  3 months ago

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Officially Going Solo Tomorrow. It's Been a Long Journey.

Well it's happening. I'm done with my 200 hours at Swift and they have my truck ready and everything. I'm more nervous than excited but I'm sure that's normal. I've got a lot of backing skills to improve on and I know my 2 weakest points.

1: My setup. I still don't know when to stop before turning. How far do I pull up before I start turning? Until the back of my trailer is in the middle of the front of the spot I want to go in then I start turning? That's one thing I will need help on.

2: I sometimes forget which way I need to turn the wheel to make my trailer respond. I know it's opposite (I turn my wheel left to make the trailer go right) but in the mirror I get stuck and panic a little.

But even despite all that I know I'm a safe driver. Never once did I trigger the cameras in the truck for following distance or speeding. If a car or truck get in front of me I just back off until I'm 6-8 seconds behind them again. No biggie. I just hope i don't miss any turns and panic or mess up. And those dang round-abouts. I guess at times you just have to hog 2 lanes in order to make your turn? Haha.

Well time to get started on this. I'll keep everyone posted on my first week solo.

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Companies that will take on new cdl grads with 0-3 month exp and will do tuition reimbursement ?

So I finished my training with Swift and CR and I applied with Schneider and when they verified my work exp they said I was "experienced" with a little over 3 months verified. But I want something local and all they have is something where I would be home twice a week doing 6 western states.

Are there other companies that will take me with little experience but also do a tuition reimbursement? I tried US xpress but they said I still had a financial obligation to CR so they couldn't take me until that was fulfilled. Swift needs at least 6 months and so do other major carriers. I'm located in southern California if that helps.

Posted:  7 months, 4 weeks ago

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Past felonies and DUI's over ten years old any companies hire me???

I think they will. They only go back so far I believe (7 years?). You should be fine. My friend who had a felony told her recruiter that she didn't commit any felonies (it was beyond 7 years when it happened) when she was asked and her record came back clean. Know your state laws. In California you don't have to disclose things past certain years due to things like the Fair Ord. Act and the San Fransisco Fair Employment.

Posted:  1 year ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

I understand that, but 20 students for 1 truck for 15 minutes each for one day then onto a new day expecting us to remember everything is the hard part for me. Yeah, I hit a snag only because I didn't know about their contract and once I read it I got discouraged. Over here in California you don't pay for the schooling unless you pass, but in other states you owe them even if you fail, so I dropped out after learning that on time 2nd day.

I remember reading from around here that the number 1 tip (besides GOAL) is to not give up or be discouraged if at first it isn't working perfectly. I'm in that phase where I want to throw in the towel but I know that this will pass.

Sparky, one of the big things you have to realize is that you will be expected to catch on quickly. That is one of the indicators in truck driver training that gives the instructors confidence you have what it takes to succeed at this career. Trucking requires the ability to adapt and assess situations quickly. It also requires some tenacity and persistence at getting things done.

Apparently you already hit a snag at Wilson. That's okay - I hit a few snags along my way, but you've got to shine now that you're getting another shot. Listen to this podcast and take heed.

Why Is Truck Driver Training Done In Such A Rush?

Posted:  1 year ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

Well our class is big. 20 students. Students from last week were a little slow and took up 3 trucks which left us with 1. So 20 students for 1 truck, we each got 15 minutes worth in the truck and that was it.

Yeah, I've been observing and listening but it's all so new so I'm getting myself confused. I think I got it. Foot on clutch, then brake, then move into 3rd then foot off brake then ease off the clutch and start rolling? Then when backing, foot on clutch and brake, come to a stop, then move into reverse, foot off brake and ease off clutch?

We're learning off setting right now and I have these turns down better than I do getting into gear, but once I'm in gear I'm in control. Just getting to that point is slow for me I guess

It sounds like you're describing the initial procedure of getting the truck rolling from a dead stop. Isn't there an instructor right there with you explaining what to do?

I'd stay away from YouTube if I were you. You're definitely over thinking this.

One of the most important things you need to be doing is observing others and paying close attention to your instructor. You're all wound up about the order of things and it's stressing you out. It's just not that critical if you release the parking brake first then put your foot on the brake pedal, or if you do those in the opposite order. All your doing is keeping the truck from rolling freely with the brakes. Then you push the clutch in while keeping your other foot on the brake. The clutch is disengaged when you push it with your foot which allows you to select a gear. So now you put into 3rd gear. Sounds easy right? It is - you can do this!

Now comes the tricky part. Start slowly easing the clutch out. You should hear a slight change in the engine sound and RPM as the clutch begins to engage. You can even feel the truck getting ready to roll. That's when you take your right foot off the brake while still slowly releasing the clutch. That will get the beast moving properly.

It's all new, but it's really simple. You're letting it overwhelm you. Don't be so timid. You're the one in control - take charge and be confident. The most critical behaviors you should be doing right now are listening and observing. Pay attention to how the instructor does it and how the students who are having success do it. You should have lots of time to observe others. Don't waste that time.

Posted:  1 year ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

So I decided to go with Swift instead. We're in the yard only going into 3rd gear, no higher and no using the gas pedal.

I think I'm over thinking everything. I never know if I have to push in the clutch, then brake then start shifting..or do I go in (if truck is on), foot on brake and clutch, then move it into 3rd then parking brakes in and foot off brake then let it roll by slowly letting off the clutch? I've looked at YouTube videos and I might have it but I'm confused. I just don't know the proper way of doing it (no double clutch and no using the accelerator for purposes of Swift, just using 3rd gear in the yard)

Any help would be appreciated. I really want to get this accomplished and get this down. I've never driven a manual before and heard that it should be easier to learn since I won't be in stubborn habits.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

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Starting with Wilson- my Adventure Diary

I left California on Saturday and got to Montana Monday morning. I was in a 10 hour layover in Las Vegas where I just sat and watched crime shows on the tv for 10 hours. Switched between 5 buses but in the end I finally arrived here. When I got to my hotel I brushed my teeth and notified my recruiter that I was ready to be picked up. There are about 6 of us here so that's good. Not crowded at all.

Wilson picked us up and dropped us off at the physical place to get drug tested and to get our physical done. After that they got us lunch at a little nice Mexican place. We then went to the facility where we just signed papers, went over orientation and onboarding and learned more in depth about the contract. The one thing I'm not fond of is for home time we can only have a max of 5 days, but other than that I really enjoyed everything.

Tomorrow we will be taking the permit test, where we have 2 attempts to pass it and if we don't they send us home. I feel very confident about passing it so I'm not too worried about that. Once that's done we are going to do more paperwork then drive around the yard dead head so we can get familiar with the manual and the truck overall.

But as of now I'm going to take a long nap. I got maybe a total of 3 hours of sleep from all the bus switching and layover in the stations. I want to be well rested for tomorrow and see what tomorrow brings. I'll update it with a lot more once we do more.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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It's Official, July 29th with Wilson

I probably wasn't clear. Studying for the permit is all me. Getting my actual cdl training in 1 weeks for the actual cdl a license is what I'm stressing

You should be able to get clp the day you show up, its not their job to study for you. Your weeks training is learning how to handle a truck before they send you out with a trainer to get more experience in handling a truck. I'm noy trying to be rude here, I just want to clear up your misconception on who is responsible for the permit training. That being said if you use this site and a study app on your phone you should have 0 problems passing the permit test on the first try.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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It's Official, July 29th with Wilson

Well it's official. I signed the papers, did all the required testing and video watching I needed to before I leave. Now all I need to do is make sure I study the CDL permit and hope that 1 week of training with them will be long enough for me to get my CDL before I go out on the road with my trainer.

And good thing is I'm only doing western 10, so I'm hoping I'll be home a lot more than if I were to do all 48.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I heard that during the test they don't let you get out and look, you can only use mirrors

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What is GOAL? I always see it mentioned.

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G Get

O Out

A And

L Look

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I'm more concerned about bad weather or something out of my control and I don't want to get penalized for it

My Sons belief is except all loads, long and short. Why turn down miles and money. A 850 mile load pay the same per mile as a 1200 mile load... I don’t think he will ever turn down money.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

Ah okay, I see. What is GOAL? I always see it mentioned. So overall it was a good experience? Wilson doesn't have forced dispatch do they?

Actually it took him a bit longer because he scraped a trailer at a TA and got 10k more training miles. He wasn’t upset, he was expecting the additional miles. He did not GOAL, and I believe he found the addition training a positive experience. Plus, it was a preventable.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

That's great news. Did it take him 3 months for training? They told me 30k miles with a trainer (so about a 3 months I think).

My son just got his first dispatch yesterday after all training and solo week with Wil-Trans. He has had a very positive experience and is happy.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I work in a warehouse right now. It only nets me about 20k a year, if that. I'm tired of it though, I want to see the world.

What field are you leaving to start driving? There are going to be a few times you're going to want to throw in the towel while training and your first year so please dont be afraid of asking for help or advice. I look forward to reading your diary if you have the time for it.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I'm sure I'll be very glad. I'm doing this for a change in a career, and also more of a pay. I want to be more financially stable and though I hear a lot of people complaining about money in trucking, it's a lot more than what I'm currently bringing. But like I said, I just want a change in life mostly.

You've got time to work your way through our High Road CDL Training Program.

It was a game changer for the beginning of my trucking career. You'll be glad you did it.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

So after much research and thinking I decided to go with Wilson. I was focused on a company with a good pet policy that allowed cats. I liked their pay, their insurance, deadhead/detention and layover policies as well. Not a fan of their home time policy but they do the western 10 and since I live in California I won't be too far from home. I don't like the idea of being with a trainer for three first 30k miles but I guess that much is better for me in the end.

I've heard plenty good things about Wilson so I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy my time. I have until the 29th and I've been studying my brakes, general knowledge, and combination (they told me to study those 3 sections).

I'll be studying until then and I'll be writing down my experience here as the diary. I'm looking forward to this adventure.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Going from a school bus driver to a tractor trailer driver

Hey G town, I couldn't find a message option. But since you drive for Swift could you shed some light on their pet policy? I want to bring my cat once I become a solo driver, would I be able to? Thanks

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Granted school buses and 18 wheelers are different but, compared to driving a car I see several similarities.

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Care to explain what you mean by this?

Driving a car is absolutely nothing like driving a tractor trailer.

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