In Serious Need Of A Pep Talk...

Topic 13531 | Page 2

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ChickieMonster's Comment
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Thanks for the advice everyone!! It is awesome to know that I have a community to come to where there is always someone who has been in the same boat I am and will give encouragement and advice. You guys are great!!

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

Daniel, I definitely don't plan on leasing for a long time if ever. My plan is to stay with TransAm for a year and then reevaluate whether I want to stay with them or look for a company with a little better pay scale. I picked TransAm for the perks they offer in their trucks (automatics, APU , refrigerator and tv package) and their home time. Their pay is on the low side for a starter company (.30 cpm) but even for a low mile week it still works out to almost double what I was making at my last job!

I've been working on the logbook section of High Road and it is making a lot more sense now. My goal is to get out there and get as much experience as possible and just enjoy this new life!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Dutch's Comment
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Chickie, successful backing is all about having your trailer "pointed" correctly. If it's not pointed correctly, you will struggle to back in. Even when backing up bobtail , you will begin to understand the concept of getting your drive tire pointed correctly, in order to slide under the trailer and be lined up properly.

When you begin to understand when you aren't pointed correctly, you will immediately know when you need to stop trying, do a pull up, reposition, and begin backing up again.

Bobtail:

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

Lil's Comment
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ChickieMonster, your profile name makes me laugh. Good luck with orientation and please keep us posted. Like you, I'm trying to read as much as I can to prepare. It sounds like you've done a great job.

ChickieMonster's Comment
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ChickieMonster, your profile name makes me laugh. Good luck with orientation and please keep us posted. Like you, I'm trying to read as much as I can to prepare. It sounds like you've done a great job.

It's my husbands nickname for me! He says I should use it as my CB handle...rofl-1.gif

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Lil's Comment
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That would be a great CB handle.

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB

Mike W.'s Comment
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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".

Blessed 58's Comment
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Chicken monster, Take a deep breathe. Download the Truckers Path app into your phone . It will be your best friend for life. Touch on the top right corner and a side screen will slide out. Touch on trip planner click on your location button and the destination button. Type in the address your going to and hit the route button. It will track your route for you and compare the route with your routing instructions on your pre plan that you get. The app also shows you where all the truck is stops are that you can pull a semi into at the different exits. It also shows you where the weigh stations and the rest areas are at along your whole route. If you click on a bubble of a truck stop it will calculate how many miles it is from where your located.. It works so fabulous. Saves you alot of trip planning time. When you click on the truckstop bubble then click on reviews to see what others say about the place not all comments will be true. Then zoom in and click on the little globe sign in the upper right corner for satellite. View to see the whole layout of the truck stop. I also use satellite. To see where the drivers entrance is to the places that I'm delivering to.. Hope this info helps you. The truckers Path app is a life saver for sure. Good luck and God bless you! .

ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

I've just gotta say that you guys and gals are awesome!! No one in my family drives a truck and I don't have any friends that do so I believed that I was going into this blind. Not so!!! Not only do I have the people at my school but I have all you amazing people out here who are kind and generous enough to offer help when help is needed most.

I'm still nervous about orientation but it is more of a starting-a-new-job jitters rather than being afraid of the unknown. Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time out of their busy days to send these great tips my way! I very much hope that I will get to meet some of you in person out there someday.

2 days until Kansas...

I will post a journal of my time with TransAm because I see that there hasn't been much said about them here and I want to give other people an inside look.

ChickieMonster's Comment
member avatar

Got most of my packing done today for Orientation and training. Really hope I'm not forgetting anything!!

2 days until Kansas...

Leaving on Tuesday around noonish. Gotta fix some lights on the car tomorrow and take care of a few last minute things but otherwise I'm ready to roll!

Asian Princess's Comment
member avatar

Got most of my packing done today for Orientation and training. Really hope I'm not forgetting anything!!

2 days until Kansas...

Leaving on Tuesday around noonish. Gotta fix some lights on the car tomorrow and take care of a few last minute things but otherwise I'm ready to roll!

I'm excited for you chickiemonster!!! Don't worry about how long it's been since you drove or backed. I got my CDL July of 2014 and I popped into my CDL school last month to knock the rust off. Drove around Tacoma for 30 mins then dropped it into the 90 with one pull up... Like riding a bike... It all came right back. School is one thing, but now the real world looms ahead and I personally don't care how long or how many times I pull up as long as I don't hit something and get it into the dock within the day!! πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ™πŸΎπŸ™πŸΎπŸ˜πŸ˜ of course I'm fortune enough to have an experienced co pilot as my husband . Look forward to hearing your orientation experience!! 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.
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