Starting My Career Soon With Stevens Transport March 2016

Topic 13059 | Page 1

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The Chad's Comment
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Hey everyone! So I've done the research, picked a company, committed to a start date, bought some recommended supplies, and one plane ticket to Dallas. I start march 14th and I am excited, yet a bit nervous. I am currently a pharmacy technician and part time instructor at the local community college's pharmacy tech program, but the money is just not close to where I want it to be. I am 40, married, and I have one daughter who is a freshman in college and another who is 9. Call it a major career change, or a mid-life crisis, but I always had a love for big rigs. When I was a kid I used to have a bunch of 18 wheeler toys, and my mom would take us to the trade shows and we would love to sit in them rigs. When I got out of the navy in 2000 I applied to trucking school and was all set to start...except for one little problem. I had a lead foot and a whole mess of speeding tickets and the man told me I had to wait a bit. So life happened and fast forward 15 years and here I am, about to embark on this adventure. My wife and I (think we) are ready for the sacrifices of being a trucker, and as I wait for my start date I am studying The High Road Training Program. I will do my best to keep y'all updated on how it is going, but until then...safe travels to all the truckers out there!

The Chad's Comment
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So less than 14 days before I start CDL training with Stevens and my mom calls (not sure she is thrilled with me going trucking, but my wife and the rest of the family are on board) and starts telling me that one of her friend's husband went to work for Stevens and said a bunch of negative stuff. If you have done your research (THANK YOU TRUCKING TRUTH!), spoke with other drivers, and asked lots of questions- you can't let one person's negative experience influence your decision. I told her that I didn't cover my eyes and randomly pick a company I spent many weeks digging for good info. She then told me that the guy said it was a good company, good trainers, he just didn't make money...NO ONE MAKES GREAT MONEY YEAR ONE! For someone who didn't like them he sure gave good reviews of the company and people...SMH

I'm going to assume this dude either had an attitude issue and/ or probably kept wanting home time...who knows, but I ran into a Stevens driver a few weeks ago and the guy had nothing but good things to say, he said the first 6 months are tough but stick with it, don't give up, and he was really happy with his decision to go Stevens. From TT i've learned to do your homework and find the company that is a good fit for you, I believe I've done that and I am going in humble, ready and willing to learn, and I'm going to have a positive attitude.

Start date is 3/14 so I will update y'all (I'm from Texas) with how it is going. I can't wait to start my new career.

Safe Travels...y'all :)

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.
The Chad's Comment
member avatar

***Update***

Ok, so I made it to Dallas and I'm staying at the Crosslands Extended Stay Suites. It's not bad. The bed is comfy and clean, my roommate is pretty cool. He is on week two. They provide a van on Saturdays at 1pm to take you to Walmart. I took advantage of that and bought some food. I don't want to be eating out everyday, so I bought stuff for sandwiches and hot pockets, and stuff to eat in the mornings. I took a walk today to the Big Lots across the street and they have lots of food options as well, but who wants to lug a pack of water through a muddy field. There is also a small grocery store called Alli's next to that, and a Kroger down the street. So there are plenty of options for food; additionally, there is a ****ey's BBQ pit (which I did break down and buy), a Wendy's, a 7-11 a quick walk away. There are several other shopping centers around as well.

So tomorrow is day 1, I'm excited and nervous, there's a little anxiety when starting something new. I heard from other students that STEVENS has some vending machines with snacks to eat for lunch, but they are pricey, also there are a couple of food trucks that are stationed out front during lunch (pricey too), But I will be bringing my meal. Stevens sends you a list of items to bring to school with you but they don't mention to bring a backpack, I brought mine, but several students have been having to carry a bunch of stuff around, so tip #1- bring a backpack with you.

Big day tomorrow, I'll let y'all know how it goes.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

The Chad's Comment
member avatar

Day #1

Get ready for PAPERWORK! Half of your first day is filling out stuff. Make sure you listen to the trainer, they get a little ****ed if you don't listen. After lunch we started going over material and they go pretty quick, thank God I started the High Toad program. I was able to keep up. The days are usually 7-4 plus half Saturdays, but tomorrow we have physicals and DT, also some simulator time so we will be there until 8, but they are going to feed us pizza.

We should be getting time in the truck a little later this week. Fingers crossed that I don't screw up to much. They're gonna start us off bobtail and the transition into driving with a trailer.

Well, I will talk to y'all later.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Charlie Mac's Comment
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Great reports Chad, keep rollin' good-luck.gif

The Chad's Comment
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***UPDATE***

So day 1 was mostly lots of paper work, day 2 was looooooooong! We had to be there by 6 am and didn't get home untill after 9pm. The day started out with them continuing some of the stuff to get you ready for the 5 writen tests at the DPS. A little later we got herded down to the 1st level for urinalysis. Stevens don't play any games, once they tell you not to eat or drink anything...DO NOT DRINK OR EAT ANYTHING! There is one guy that thought he was going to have a difficult time making a sample and brought a water bottle down with him, they almost kicked him out the program! After that it is time for the most thorough physical I've had since the Navy, they have a doctor on staff and they ask a lot of questions and make you drop your drawers. After that it is a fun filled day of theory prepping us for the DPS written tests.

On a side note, get your permit BEFORE you get here, I did and it bought me a ton of seat time in the truck!

Day 3 - consists of some tests on some info from the FMCSR manual, and then more review for the DPS tests. After lunch we shuttled over to the DPS and got in line to take the written tests. As I stated before...get your permit BEFORE you get to training. I did, and all I had to take was the tests for Air Brakes, Pre-Trip, and general knowledge. Again, I got them done and it bought me a ton of more seat time bobtailing around the track.

Day 4 - we did our first pre-trip inspection (bring ur gloves), we got to climb around, on top, and under the Tractor and trailer, after that the instructors taught us how to navigate the track, and then off we went! We had been told to apologize to the transmission before getting started. They surprisingly put two of us in each bobtail and we went on our own, they said it was easier to get used to double clutching and steering without an instructor getting on your case...I liked it! After lunch those who weren't done had to go back to DPS and take tests, those (like me) that were done got more track time.

Day 5 - the class was split in two, some went backing ( I did good) and learning parallel parking (I suck) and others hit the track bobtail and going around, after lunch the teams swapped. At around 2:30, the people who still had tests had to go to DPS and the rest of us....yep, you guessed it, more track time.

The days are generally 7-4, except a few and Saturday is a 1/2 day. I'm super tired, and it all comes at you pretty quick, but it's fun. I'll update again soon

Later y'all!

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
The Chad's Comment
member avatar

***Update*** Wow! The last week has flown by! It seems like a year. Last Saturday was a half day, and we got a lesson in trip planning and reading maps.

Monday and Tuesday had us doing laps around the track, but this time with trailers! It's a whole new world towing a '53 trailer. You continue to hone your double clutching skills, but with the added stress of proper turning. We also practiced parallel parking.

Wednesday thru Friday we put our new found skills to the test...with city driving!! shocked.png

It was a challenge. Up shifting/ down shifting, squaring turns, keeping your trailer in between the lines, checking mirrors....oh, and DON'T HIT ANYTHING!!

Tomorrow is another half day, we will take a few spins around the track and parallel park...wish me luck!

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

The Chad's Comment
member avatar

CDL road test this morning, said my prayers...embarrassed.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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

CDL road test this morning, said my prayers...embarrassed.gif

Good luck!

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.
The Chad's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, but I failed 😢

Had a hard right turn, and the examiner said turn right, but to split the lane. I hadn't heard that phrase before, and I didn't know I could ask for clarification. I thought split the lane was something else, so I set up for the right hander but once I stopped she told me I'm not going to make the turn...and sure enough I didn't. Couldn't finish and had to back up a little. She told me I just ruined my test. On the bright side u test at the same location tomorrow morning, and I will definitely know what "splitting" the lane means. So round two I guess.

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