Don't Let Emotions Spoil Your Tests Like I Just Did.

Topic 12887 | Page 1

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Travis H.'s Comment
member avatar

I took my DMV tests Friday to get my Class A CDL. I failed the offset backing part, and I am retaking the backing and driving tests on Wednesday. The reason I failed? I lost my **** behind the wheel. I was supposed to watch my mirror and straight line back until my rear trailer tire looked like it touched the marker, then I was supposed to turn my wheel hard in the other direction, watch my mirror, and back until my rear tractor tire touched the other marker. What did I do? I straight line backed until my real trailer tire passed the marker on the previous step. Instead of turning my wheel hard in the other direction to begin the next step, I panicked because I lost sight of the marker in my mirror. So I did a straight pull up, found my marker, and then backed until I couldn't see my marker again. And then I did another pull up. This happened four times before I realized I was too centered on seeing the mark in my mirror and too emotionally spent to remember what the next step was, that I set the brakes, put the truck in neutral, got out of the truck, and told the examiner to fail me because I blanked out.

Damn.

I got a perfect score on both my pre-trip and in cab tests. I even got a perfect score on my straight line backing. But because I was focused on finishing all of the tests within the 2 hour time limit and focused on doing everything perfectly and keeping that cone in my mirror, I cost myself graduating on time with my class and cost myself an award for perfect scores on the first two tests. I retest on Wednesday and I am going to practice the maneuvers again over the next two days (weekday students aren't allowed to practice on the weekend due to large classes and limited truck availability on those two days). But I'm so ****ed with myself that I could spit nails.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

We are our own worst enemy at times, just focus on the prize you'll be fine. Remember the only item that means anything after you finish is that shiny piece of plastic with your name on it. That all the good trucking companies care about. It sounds like you'll do fine but you probably already know that.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Travis, that's a great post in my opinion. Keeping one's self calm in a distressful time is an important attribute for a professional driver. There are all kinds of situations we get ourselves into as drivers that will test us to the very core at times, and the folks who can maintain control are the ones who go on to prove themselves as dependable, reliable, and productive professional drivers. You clearly recognized that it was the pressure that got to you and not necessarily your lack of skill. Panic has caused many accidents in this industry and also a lot of unnecessary heart ache and grief for rookie drivers.

Go over your maneuvers just like you have planned, work on not only nailing the method of the procedure, but also let the practice build up your confidence. Don't worry one bit about failing that first attempt. If you knew how many professionals out here failed their first, second, and even third attempts at passing their driving tests you'd be very surprised. I raised three kids, one of them started walking at eight months, one at about a year, and the other at fourteen months. We thought that one child was never going to be able to walk! Now that they are all grown they each walk just as well as the others. My point is simply that it doesn't make one bit of difference that one person passes on the first try or that another takes three or four tries - once you are out here in the big leagues no one will know you took a few bad steps when you were first getting started.

Go get em!

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

The majority of students from my school would fail their first attempt. This is common for a lot of students. Myself and another classmate were in the minority in that we passed the first time.

I almost didn't pass the first time though. I almost shifted over some railroad tracks I didn't even see. At the end of the road test, the instructor said to me, "did you know how close you were to shifting over those RR tracks?"

How can you miss a set of RR tracks? There were actually two sets, one after the other, right in between an traffic intersection with stoplights. My point being, when you're just starting out, so much stuff is coming at you so fast. You've got to process a lot of information within a moment's time. I remember thinking to myself, how am I supposed to pay attention to road signs, other motorists, AND the tachometer while I'm driving?

Just like a college athlete transitioning into the pros, the game will slow down eventually.

In the meantime, take a deep breath and try to stay calm as you take your tests. Stick to the routine. Make it as simple and easy for yourself as possible. Don't drink too much caffeine on the day of testing. smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Boomshaker E.'s Comment
member avatar

Travis, I hear you man. All thru school my instructor kept asking "what are you doing"? And my answer was always the same. TRYING TO MAKE IT PERFECT. He told me to STOP OVER THINKING IT. Well low and behold when I did stop over thinking it I did much better during practice. Like you I tried to knock it out in one day also. And I almost did. Last thing to accomplish was my road test. I had the road test almost passed, until I over thought a particular traffic signal and came to a complete stop at a green light. Because, I thought it was going to change on me and I didn't want to fail. (OK, NO ONE LAUGH LOL) I thought I was doing the right thing. Turns out it wasn't. My road examiner asked me why did I stop? I told him I thought it was going to change and I didn't want to fail. Turns out I did because I stopped. Again, over thought it. Moral of the story is RELAX, use the force and let your natural instincts take over. I know you'll learn from your mistake and kill it on Wednesday.

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