In Serious Need Of A Pep Talk...

Topic 13531 | Page 1

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ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

I guess the euphoria of passing my DOT test and graduating school is finally wearing off. I'm leaving Tuesday for orientation with TransAm in Kansas and the nerves are killing me!

I read TT obsessively, absorbing every bit of information I can. But lately the only things sticking out are exactly how much I DON'T know. Like HOS can get confusing sometimes as well as trip planning. (Which speaking of that- is there a way to do just those parts of High Road?)

I haven't been behind the wheel of a truck since March 7th so I'm afraid I'm gonna be really rusty when I get there. Luckily, I don't have to worry about my shifting ability because TransAm is 100% automatics. But my backing skills are not the greatest and I fear that the time off will have worsened them.

All in all, I'm getting very very nervous about starting this whole thing. I see TT as a huge source of support, encouragement, and teaching and I hope some of you out there can help a girl out!!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mike W.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

As far as backing is concerned I think I might have something to offer here. I hope this helps and doesn't confuse a new driver, but any driver that backs up well will understand what I mean. First of all, on the road test your judged on how many pull-ups you do. Do too many and you fail. FORGET THAT! Thats behind you now. Don't stress over how many pull-ups you do, just don't hit anything.

One thing that I find all new drivers do is concentrate on where to turn the steering wheel. Turn to the left, trailer goes left, turn to the right, and trailer goes right. This is fine just to get your license but to be a good backer you have to go passed that. I'm not saying that this is not going to take some practice but THIS IS THE KEY, YOU HAVE TO THINK OF YOUR DRIVE TIRES AS BEING THE STEER TIRES FOR THE TRAILER. Think of it, if your tractor is jacked to the left, and you turn your wheel to the right, which way will the tailer go? Not to the right like your taught in TT school. Its going to continue to go to the left because the tractor (AND DRIVE TIRES) are turned to the left. The trailer won't start to go to the right until the tractor drive tires are jacked to the right.

So often I see new drivers get the tandems right where there supposed to be, and then, because the trailer is not parallel with the hole, they pull way up and start the whole process all over again. What you need to do is get the tandems where you want them and then just jack the tractor in whatever direction you need to get the trailer parallel with the whole, DONT WORRY ABOUT HOW MANY PULL-UPS IT TAKES. Keep the pull-ups short, just a few feet, back and forth is needed to jack the tractor drives tire in the direction you need to go to line-up the trailer with the whole, once its straight, do the same amount of short pull-ups to get the tractor back in line (straight) with the trailer. The tandems will still be where you put them because your pull-ups and back-ups WERE SHORT ( remember too if there is over hang on the trailer, keep the tandems away from the other trucks/trailers until the trailer is parallel with the whole) Once the tractor is straight in front of the trailer, back you go! End of story,

As you practice this, you will need fewer pull-up to back in. In time you will be able to back-in one shot (going slowly, you don't have to be a cowboy) almost every time. And if you don't, who cares, just do a few pull-ups.

Just remember, THINK OF THE TRACTOR DRIVE TIRES AS THE STEER TIRES FOR THE TAILER. It might take a while for this to "click", but once it does you will understand what I mean.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Nervous is to be expected, and I think that's a good thing to have. It will keep you on the cautious side. Much better than being an arrogant, know-it-all. Backing challenges can only be truly overcome by practice. Practice. More practice. I learn new stuff every day, and so will you.

Nathan N.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm not sure if this will help or not but I waited almost 2 years to get a job trucking after I got my cdl. As long as your company makes you go with a trainer over the road , you will be just fine. I don't think anyone is actually completely ready to go solo for the first time. 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.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

I guess the euphoria of passing my DOT test and graduating school is finally wearing off. I'm leaving Tuesday for orientation with TransAm in Kansas and the nerves are killing me!

I read TT obsessively, absorbing every bit of information I can. But lately the only things sticking out are exactly how much I DON'T know. Like HOS can get confusing sometimes as well as trip planning. (Which speaking of that- is there a way to do just those parts of High Road?)

I haven't been behind the wheel of a truck since March 7th so I'm afraid I'm gonna be really rusty when I get there. Luckily, I don't have to worry about my shifting ability because TransAm is 100% automatics. But my backing skills are not the greatest and I fear that the time off will have worsened them.

All in all, I'm getting very very nervous about starting this whole thing. I see TT as a huge source of support, encouragement, and teaching and I hope some of you out there can help a girl out!!

Congrats on getting through cdl school! One of the cdl instructors at my school gave me some advice that I remember whenever I get stressed out or worried: just keep cool, calm, and collected. Three C's, easy to remember, and I think it's one of the keys to being successful at this job.

Personally, I thought cdl school was the hardest part, and shifting was one of the hardest things about it! Now that I'm out here doing the real thing (in an automatic just like you), it's a breeze. The hardest thing is sitting still in that truck for hours at a time.

And don't even worry about the backing. Most backs are actually pretty easy. I'd say the majority of the backs I do on a regular basis are 45-90 degree angle backs, and the rest are straight backs. I've been out for 3 months and only had to blindside back once. If you're not sure what's around you, don't freak out. Just GOAL, as many times as necessary. And if you're really unsure, you can usually find someone to help spot you.

Yep, you can do just the HOS and trip planning part of the High Road Training Program on here. I'd post a link to it but I don't know know how.

Anyways good luck out there!

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

Girl it's truly trial by fire after training when you go solo. I'm wrapping up my 3rd solo week and everything that could ho wrong, has but I'm sure learning so much everyday. My backing skills have been a challenge but i go slow as molasses and always get it in. A couple times other drivers spotted for me and I'm grateful... Some of those docks I'd never have figured out the setup.

I was told nobody was born knowing how to do this.. So take your time and f# the drivers who get mad because they have to eait on you.

You can do this!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

I wouldn't worry about it. When you get to the school they will give you some time to get to know the truck and then they will send you out with a trainer so it'll all come back to you

Sonnydogg's Comment
member avatar

I know exactly how you feel. I always get nervous when I go to a new place. What will it look like? How much room will I have? Is it in town with narrow streets, or in the country? After 2 months, it's getting better. I've learned to look up my address' on google earth so I'm not so surprised when I arrive, and I take each day one day at a time. Don't worry about tomorrow. Just do your best today. When backing, as Sue D said, gooo slooow. It's amazing how much control you have when you just take a deep breath and take your time. You CAN do this! As time goes by, your confidence will grow.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

The unknown factor excites me each day. As many have posted above concerning backing, many are easy. Just go slowly and Get Out And Look (GOAL). The only thing I can think to add would be: 1) Don't over-steer! Small movements and corrections. 2) If it's a really tight spot, move the trailer tandems as far forward as possible. The shorter the wheelbase, the less area needed to maneuver the object.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

J Johns's Comment
member avatar

My best advice to myself recently has been this: trust the process.

I have, & am thriving.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

TransAm pushes the lease very hard, be sure to stay a company driver no matter how much pressure you get. Do not lease there.

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