Knight CDL School Diary

Topic 11154 | Page 4

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PPGER's Comment
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Well...... I HAVE MY CDL!!! Woo hoo!

I was the third guy to test today. Of course, everything ran late. Anyway, I missed three out of 90 on the pre-test. DOH. Things I knew, but it is still passing, so on to the skills test. I had a score of 2 on that -- cut the wrong triangle on the parallel. But made it through that. On to the road test. As it turned out, that went easier than the skills test which is the opposite of what I anticipated. I think I only missed one shift and only ground a couple of gears. I think I got dinged for cutting one left turn back in too quick, turning off my signal too soon once on a lane change, missing a gear, a couple of ground gears, one traffic check, and missing what one road sign read. On my LAST turn to the road to the terminal , I was a little fast, braked a little harder than I wanted, and then had a terrible shift trying to go to third with the selecter still up for the high range, but finally recovered and got it in there... LOL -- I think I got 2 or 3 of my points on that one turn. But the instructor was really laid back about it. As we pulled into the terminal, he said, "well, you passed." I replied, "Wow, you mean even after I almost put you through the windshield (actually it wasn't that bad...). He laughed, I laughed. It was all good. Anyway, after we got back to the terminal and while he was doing the paperwork I asked him what I needed to work on. He said, nothing really. He said that I was cutting my turns properly -- only cut a couple left ones back in too soon. I asked about whether I was slowing down too soon or too late for red lights/stop signs or signally too far in advance or not soon enough for turns and he said that was all okay. So, over all, I was really happy with my road test -- more so than with my brain farts when it came to my pre-trip inspection and parking.

After all that, I drove down to the DMZ and got my CDL!!!

I am supposed to meet my trainer tomorow morning at 6 a.m. I think we'll be out until Thanksgiving since the DM said that my trainer planned to be home for Thanksgiving.

I can't believe how quickly CDL school went. It was certainly an emotional roller coaster! One day I did well. The next day I sucked. Next day okay. Next day great. Anyway, that part is over and now on to the real training! Thanks to all the great encouragement and advice on here.

I'll keep ya posted.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Matt W.'s Comment
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Congrats!dancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Congrats on the CDL!

dancing-dog.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
PPGER's Comment
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Sorry for the absence.

I met my trainer Tuesday afternoon. We had a load of batteries from Auto Zone in Phoenix to El Paso. My trainer drove from Phoenix to Lordington(?) NM. Then the next day, Wednesday, I drove the load to El Paso. After dropping the load, we went to Saint Theresa, NM and picked up a load of cardboard going to Salt Lake City. I drove about 8 hours total that day and then he drove the rest of the way to Albuquerque where we stopped for the night. On Thursday I drove around 7.5 hours and then he drove the rest of the way to Salt Lake City. The load was scheduled to be delivered Friday morning so we parked at the receiver when we got there Thursday night. As it turned out, they accepted the load that night, so after unloading we went to Knight's terminal and spent the night.

On Friday we got a late dispatch to pick up a large 44k pound load of hay going to Tipton CA. I drove around 8.5 hours and then my trainer drove. We stopped at Primm, NV for the night. Then this morning I drove the rest of the way to Tulare where we dropped the load at the yard. I've gotten a little exposure to some 5 and 6 percent grades and learned to love the engine brake on an International! The automatic transmission on it needs some tweaking though! It over revs going up the hills and wants to hang around 1800 rpm before it finally shifts. I try to catch it and go to manual mode and hold it in 8th. And I also don't like how it lets the truck roll when you start out in drive. At least with a manual I knew how to work the clutch and bake so I didn't roll back when stopped on an incline. And if you are making a slow turn and let your foot up from the accelerator, when you want to give it has again, it likes to go to neutral and nothing is happening for what seems like forever while it decides what to do. Meanwhile my trainer is saying,"give it some gas!" And I say I am! And going up one of the inclines today, he's telling me to accelerate and I have it floored!

I was glad that the load of hay was so heavy because we had some really strong crosswinds going south on I-15. We got buffeted some but it wasn't too bad.

I think we have put on around 2000 miles so far. During this first week, their goal is for me to drive 8-9 hours a day. On Thursday our DM called and wanted us to deliver our load in SLC early and then do a team driving delivery. He told them that, one, there was no way we could get the load to SLC by then, and second, we were NOT a team truck. he told them that I only had less than three days under my belt. Anyway, I think that ticked off the load planner since we do not appear to have any more loads right now. My trainer told me that we might be running as a team in a couple weeks which does not really make me happy since that is why I didn't go with Swift--i didn't want any team driving while in training.

So far, I'm getting along okay with my trainer. We hadn't yelled at me yet even though I know he gets frustrated with me sometimes. He's been driving over twenty years so he does know his stuff. He said that you can be a trainer after only six months! I'm sure happy I didn't get a newbie like that for my trainer! He REALLY impressed me our first night out. He backed the rig into a spot at the truck stop that I didn't think it was possible to get into!

At the SLC terminal he worked with me on backing like you would in a row of spaces like you have at a truck stop. There may be hope for me yet.

It looks like I'll be out until the Friday after Thanksgiving. I think we'll get in sometime on Friday and then go back out on Monday.

I haven't gotten notice of a load yet, but I did just get a message on my phone giving me directions to the Target DC in Shatter CA so that may be our next run.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

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.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Sounds like things are going well for you and you're getting some of the critical mountain training out of the way. Congratulations!!!!

Phox's Comment
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Since knight is one of the companies I'm considering, I'm curious do you live in Phoenix or did you stay in a motel or something since I know they don't provide housing. If it was a hotel / motel what did it cost you? I was looking up rates on Kayak and the best I could find for anything semi decent was like $60 a night, which is like 2x the rate of a decent motel in san antonio which has me in sticker shock. might have been time of year, I was looking at mid march through early april. I read that they'll give you a small stipend to help cover those costs, forget how much it was though. might look into couch surfing or some other option where I can room with someone.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PPGER's Comment
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Phox, I live in Phoenix. I think the hotel rate is 52 a night

PPGER's Comment
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Ugh. Been sitting at the Amazon DC in San Bernardino for over seven hours waiting to get loaded. Now I'm over my 14....

James P.'s Comment
member avatar

Ugh. Been sitting at the Amazon DC in San Bernardino for over seven hours waiting to get loaded. Now I'm over my 14....

You have been in the sleeper right? You should be near an 8hr break which would give you some time to drive for about an hour or three, pull over for a 2 hour nap, than you should have a full clock to drive with.

PPGER's Comment
member avatar

Finally got the Amazon load. My trainer drove it into Phoenix since my clock was up. From Phoenix, picked up a load of cotton to take to Bakersfield. Got diverted to take a high priority load from Ontario, CA to Henderson, CO. So we dropped the cotton load off at the yard and are headed to CO.

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