Getting Ready For A Change

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Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
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Hi I am Kathy and I am getting ready for a complete career change! A little about myself, I taught school for ten years, then decided to open a restaurant, which I did for three years, and now am currently employed with the state in the food stamp office. i help people on public assistance find work. But that is neither here nor there, lol. I am in a rut, but ended a relationship and was going to team drive with this but a major fail. However, I am determined to do this on my own! I will be starting (what it looks like right now) with Central Refrigerated mid to late April! They offer paid schooling in exchange for a years obligation to them. Wish me luck, I will post how training is going! I am a little on the mature side (52) but I have a good head on my shoulders! See you soon! Kathy

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey, that's really awesome that you're going to be getting started soon. People love following along with others in training so they can get a good idea of what's in store when it's their turn to jump in the hot seat. So I'm looking forward to following along!

I see at the moment you're about halfway through the High Road Training Program. Keep rollin with it! It's been like a month since you've worked on it and most importantly you haven't done the logbook and weight & balance sections. You're going to desperately need to know that information.

Did you get your permit yet or do you plan on doing so before you begin the schooling? Some of the company-sponsored programs tell you not to bother getting your permit before you come but we always recommend that you do. Even if you have to take it again in another state you'll already have the knowledge and you'll know how the testing procedures are done.

Completing our training program and getting your permit gives you a gigantic advantage over the rest of the class. Everyone else will be coming in cold-turkey - no knowledge, no idea what to expect as far as the difficulty of the schooling, and they're going to be cramming day and night to learn everything. You're gonna be kickin back and smiling knowing you're the best prepared of anyone and the instructors are going to love you for it! smile.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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

Yes Brett, I do have my permit, passed it with flying colors, thanks to the High Road Training Program. Not to brag, but 97% average, I was rather proud of myself! I do need to to the log book section and weight and balance, just been putting it off, I will start on it this week. This site has been so very helpful, I can't tell you how much reading the blogs, getting advice, and the training sections have helped me. I am nervous about pulling up roots (I have lived here all my life) and going on the road, but the more I research, the more I know that this is the best decision I could ever possibly make! Also I would like your opinion on team driving, or going solo after training. Central does both, I don't have a partner in mind, but they said they will match me with one. Which do you recommend? Which would offer the best pay check possible? Seems like a team would offer some support for at least the first year or so, but not sure what to do? Any advice from anyone is greatly appreciated!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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That's a great question.

You're going to be teaming up with an experienced driver for a short time. I'm not sure how long Central does it...I'd have to look it up. It's probably 1-2 months or so. During that time you'll find out if teaming is for you. You won't make more money teaming - it will be pretty close to the same as running solo.

A lot of people consider teaming when they're new because they're hoping that having a little company will be nice and two brains working together can solve problems better than one. It seems appealing from that perspective, but the reality is that most people hate running team. Here's why:

1) You'll almost always be sleeping when the truck is rolling, which is difficult for most people cuz you're really bouncing around a lot.

2) Every decision is a compromise. Everything you do affects the other. You can't just stop where and when you like, eat where you like, shower when you like, drive when you like, etc. Everything is a team effort and a team decision.

3) You'll have no privacy. You're basically living in a walk-in closet with someone 24/7 and you really can't get away from each other. It's a very difficult relationship to maintain.

Now don't get me wrong - some people love teaming. There is no right or wrong answer here, only what's right for you. If you go on the road with a trainer and decide you love running team, Central will definitely hook you up with someone. They're a refrigerated company and they have tons of coast to coast freight. They'll take all the teams they can get.

And without a doubt - the prospect of running solo for the first time is terrifying to most drivers. You'll realize when the time comes that there's still so much to learn and you've never driven solo so it's a very challenging and stressful prospect. So don't think you'll be in any way different if the prospect of running solo seems a bit scary. That's just how it goes in the beginning for most drivers.

But you'll certainly know by the end of your training whether or not you'd like to run team and Central will accommodate you either way.

Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

shocked.png Brett, I have started the logbook section and that is the hardest by far to understand. one question keeps tripping me up and that is the one (one place it was #13), where it gives you the times and you have to tell how much of the 14/11 times you have left)Something is not clicking for me, what am I doing wrong?

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

confused.gif

You're not doing anything wrong. Some of the rules are pretty complicated and confusing. You just have to keep working through the examples. And when you're doing review questions, do not think that you have to come up with the answer without looking it up. In the questions themselves, where it says "This is a review question from page 97 (or whatever page). Click here to look up the answer" - do it! Let it walk you through the answer.

You'll definitely get it. Even if you have to do that section 3 times through - it will click. In the end it's one of those things that once you know it you don't remember why it seemed so confusing at the time. It will become second nature.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

I might as well give up, for the life of me those logbooks are confusing the life out of me. I can not for the life of me get it....I feel like I might as well read a foreign language. Makes no sense what so ever. I'll think I have something and then that goes out the window. Is there any advice that can help make this more understandable? YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Kathy, I feel your pain, and understand that this is very confusing at first. The great thing about the training program is that you can take it on in little bits at a time. Here's what I recommend: just do one page, and then go back and repeat it again and again until you've mastered the idea that is taught on that page alone. And if you don't get it, then click on the place that takes you to where the answer is and read it over and over until you start to grasp what it's saying. I'm kind of repeating advice that's already been given you, but it really will help if you do it this way. Don't even think about going to another page until you've mastered the one your working on. It will take you for ever to get through this section, but it will also benefit you tremendously when you are on your own in a truck.

If you just get sick of working on log books, then take a break and work on another section. It doesn't matter what order you go in on the study materials and it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get through it all, but it does matter that you get this stuff down. That log book section alone will help you make more money, and be the kind of driver that the dispatcher goes to when he has a special run for a dependable trustworthy driver.

Just remember: little tiny bits at a time - make sure your grasping each little bit before going on to the next page.

You can do this!

Dispatcher:

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.
Special K, aka Kathy's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the encouragement old school! I just went back and started over with the whole log book. I was doing ok until I got to the split sleeper thing the 8 and 2 and the 70 hour 8 day thing confuses me too. I think I am still trying to figure this out as a regular work week and not an ever changing work week schedule. This time I am going to take it one paragraph at a time and stop if I need to and work through it slow until I understand it. Shew...

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Kathy, just look at it this way. Your "workweek" is 8 days long instead of 7. You are only allowed a maximum of 70 hours of on duty time during that workweek in which to drive. Every day an old day falls off of your week and along with it, those hours worked, so you only count the number of hours you have worked in the past 8 days. Now, you can still work after you pass 70 hours in 8 days, but you can't drive until your hours fall below 70 and you can only drive for the available amount of hours you have left. So if you wake up this morning and you only have 8 hours left on your workweek clock, you could start driving immediately, but you can only drive for 8 hours, regardless if you have 11 hours on you drive clock. Tomorrow that happens all over again. So you learn to be very careful about your hours and how you clock them so that you don't find yourself short of available working hours when you get a call from your dispatcher for a hot load that needs to start rolling NOW..that is where split sleeper comes in handy..you learn how to use hours that would have otherwise been wasted to bank for when you need them.. OR you could do a restart and then you would have your ENTIRE 70 hour time AND your 8 day workweek would start anew but that takes 34 hours..sometimes you will have that amount of time that you aren't able to roll and sometimes you won't..so it pays, literally AND figuratively to know how to use your hours wisely and squeeze every little minute out of your clock and in the best possible ways..hope this isn't too convoluted an explanation..don't worry..it took me a while to wrap my head around HOS , but then like I am sure you have heard mentioned here again and again, one time it just "Clicked" and it was clear as mud.. rofl-3.gif

Dispatcher:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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