Steep Downgrades? - Prime Inc TNT

Topic 10152 | Page 1

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Carl S.'s Comment
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I am in need of a bit of guidance on this. I am stilling doing my 40,000 miles (currently at 13K). To me, my trainer has a very different way of doing things and i'm not sure I agree. For example, most of what I have learned about descending steep grades is a mix of the correct gear, jake brake and stab braking (in that order). But my trainer seems to prefer going down these grade either in 10th gear or neutral if he is trying to pass another truck.

I called myself trying to take hills the right way by coming down from 10th to 9th and sometimes 8th to maintain a safer speed. But my trainer tends to get a bug up is arse about this and says i should be in 10th. I personally feel a lot more comfortable taking a grade in a lower gear as to control my speed better.

I guess my question is, am I doing this right? Is there something different I should be doing? I'm a bit worried cause we are getting ready to change routes. We have been primarily east of the Mississippi. But I am told we are going to start East to West team driving and from my understanding the grades in the West are different monster from those in the East.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Carl, to some extent it depends on the load, the road conditions, day vs. night, etc. I wouldn't drive any faster than you feel comfortable. You can go down a hill too slow as many times as you like, but you can go down too fast just once.

There are some grades I've gone down in 10th when I'm deadheading that I would go down in 7th or 8th with a heavy load. That was after a few months experience solo. Take it slow.

If you feel like your trainer is driving unsafely, I would seriously think about asking your FM to get you on a different truck to finish your TNT. You don't want to wake up dead because your trainer is driving like an idiot.

And he already is. Coasting on a downgrade is dangerous anytime, and doing it so he can pass shows he has no respect for what he's driving. Prime has a real problem with it too, and they can see whether he's coasted and for how long on his SensorTracs.

Here's a video of a trainee killing himself and his trainer on Donner Pass. A trainer can kill a trainee this way too. Think about it.

There is no sound on this video

Fatal Truck Rollover On Donner Pass

This video shows a driver who tried going down Donner Pass too fast in a big rig and rolled over, killing both people inside.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14ยข per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Stump's Comment
member avatar

I am a rookie and I tell you I do it how you are doing I feel safe doing like that and I don't care if other truckers get mad cause am going slow and the end of the day I want to be a live so I say ur doing it rt because ur doing what feels safe for you and I have went from tex to cal so I got a taste of them keep doing what feels safe good luck

Paul C., Rubber Duckey's Comment
member avatar

I haven't had a chance at the big ones but I've hit a pass in the apalachine mountains a few times now last was in wet foggy weather with 78880 lbs pushing me down the hill.

I didn't go over 30mph do to the wet and rainy conditions, let alone what the signs said for my weight and allowed decent speed, I didn't use my jake and never took it outta 6high on my eaton 13spd I just lightly applied brakes when I went over 25mph.

Now I know this is only a 7% grade at most and it's not as long as the runs in the west but I would never coast this hill and would definitely not run it at 50mph with a load as I described or the last which was 70400lbs in the dry. wtf-2.gif

Not to sound like a narc but I completely agree with Bud something should be said to your FM if this "trainer" is running his truck in this manner and letting loose rookies with his "training" under their belts.__.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Pick/Grin's Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't want to work around a trainer like that. I value my life a lot more than whatever's in the trailer, and I couldn't imagine living after a bad wreck and having to deal with the fact that others would've been hurt.

Take it easy on curves and down hills. I'd rather be prepped in 8th at the top than have to risk the brakes giving out halfway down.

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

You don't wanna pick up bad habits from your trainer. I'm not sure I understand coasting down a hill in neutral, because if I take that literally, that's gotta be one of the dumbest and most dangerous things I've heard when descending a hill.

As some of the other drivers mentioned, there can be a lot of variables. Weight, road conditions, visibility, type of load etc... What you learned in school is standard. There's a reason they teach it that way. Sometimes drivers get some 'experience' and then get lazy. That can be dangerous. Familiarity with a hill isn't bad, but on unknown territory, take it by the book.

I'm sure you know the method, and just reached out on here to know if that's how they do it 'in the real world.' Well, you're supposed to drive safely in the real world. Some of these drivers are playing Russian roulette. Don't let anybody push you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable. You'll be solo eventually, you'll want to practice driving the correct way now, not unlearning poor driving habits. Remember, it's your career, your license, and ultimately, your life.

Carl S.'s Comment
member avatar

I appreciate the advice guys. I'm going to voice my concerns with my trainer, give it a week or so and see what happens. If nothing changes then I will give my FM a call.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah I agree with everyone - do it your way. I've never once coasted down a hill in neutral. Why would you even do that? It makes no sense.

The next time he tells you to go faster down a hill, ask him to calculate how much time you'll save going 60 mph down a hill instead of 40 mph. Say the hill is 5 miles long. If you go 60 mph you'll get to the bottom of the hill in 5 minutes. If you go 40 mph it will take about 7 minutes. So he's willing to risk his life, your life, and the lives of the drivers around you to get to the bottom of a mountain two minutes sooner? Terrible decision.

That's some basic "life math" right there. If you can't do life math as a trucker you're probably not going to live long.

Do it your way. Take your time. And I don't care if you're doing it that way when you're empty. You do whatever speed you're comfortable with and not one mph more.

Gladiator 76's Comment
member avatar

I've been thinking about this thread since I watched that video Bud A. posted. Can you give us an update Carl? I'm hoping things in that truck are getting safer.

Carl S.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been thinking about this thread since I watched that video Bud A. posted. Can you give us an update Carl? I'm hoping things in that truck are getting safer.

I am home for a few days right now. Will be back on the truck on Sunday. We will see what happens. I will keep you updated. I watched that vid too. Kind of wish i didn't.

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