Distress Factor Of Living With A Trainer?

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T.W.'s Comment
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What is the distress factor when sharing a truck with a trainer for 6 weeks? Seriously, this is one event I am not looking forward too.

I have heard horror stories of trainers from hell being egotistical, arrogant, psychopathic, pompous a-holes. Most of them regurgitating "It is my truck and I want things done a certain way or the highway!" My response would be..."I understand it's your truck, but I have my boundaries too and your making a lot of money training me so stop the attitude."

I am not looking forward to being with a trainer in a truck cabin the size of a shoebox for 6 weeks who wants me to fetch his coffee, having him yell at me because I missed an exit, being disrespectful, or having poor hygiene habits.

I would think living with a trainer for 6 weeks has got to be tough? Even if the trainer is not a a-hole, how does a guy live with another guy for 6 weeks in a truck?

All your opinions are welcome.

Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
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First the BAD NEWS...

You are going to be with a trainer for SIX WEEKS. There will be bad times. Your trainers job is to make sure you are ready to drive on your own. Some trainers may be using you to make more money. If the trainer is on a lease, it might even be even more so. I am sure every trucker here has heard MOST, if NOT all training "horror" stories.

Now, the good news...

You will be with a trainer for ONLY SIX WEEKS. If your trainer is good, you will learn a lot.


Andy H. aka AZ Scooby's Comment
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I have yet to get to this point but like many on this forum have said, just stick it out. It may seem like an eternity while you're with the trainer but in reality it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the years you'll hopefully be on your own. You just gotta suck it up, learn as much as you can, and at the end of those 6 weeks you'll be a new and better person for it. Even your trainer was once in your shoes. So don't worry too much about it.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
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My feeling on it is this...as long as the trainer is not doing something to jeopardize either my life or my future, ie, my license, then, yeah, it's his truck and as such I'm a guest, just like I would be a guest in someone's house..I will conduct myself accordingly...and try and let everything else roll off my back like rain..I am sure there are going to be times when i am going to feel like jumping out of the truck whilst it's still moving, but I'm old enough and been around the block enough to be able to deal with most types of BS that people can dish out..and again, like everyone keeps saying..it's only Temporary..

RedGator (Nalee)'s Comment
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Speaking from my training experience as well as the fact that I should be getting my first trainee soon heres my advise. When I was in training I told my trainer its your truck. Im here for 6 weeks. How do you want me to drive your truck? What do you expect? What are your dos and donts? When you get your own truck you can do whatever you want. Your trainer is sharing their truck and knowledge with you. Appreciate that. Some folks may do it for the money but folks luke me dont. I genuinly want to help people. Give respect and get respect. As a trainee you are entitled to 1. Plenty of driving practice 2. Plenty of backing 3. Guidance in all day to dsy activities as a trucker ie. Showing you the ropes 4. Showers everyday to every other day 5. To feel safe. Other that that your entitlement kinda stops there. There are plwnty of horror stories out there but please dont go into this with a negative attitude. Not all folks are like that. Learn what you can, ask plenty of questions and when you get in your truck take all that you know and apply it. The hardest part about living in a truck is adjusting to the lifestyle. The loneliness. Being away from your comforts and the life you know now. It all changes. That is the hardest part


Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Todd, it's possible that you will get a really great trainer. There are good ones and bad ones out there. So, please don't go into this thinking you are just going to have to suck it up and endure it. I had what I would describe as a crazy trainer, but still I learned a lot from him. You've just got to go into it realizing that you know absolutely nothing about this.

When we first get started we've got that nice new CDL and it feels really good having that thing in your wallet, but it really won't help you when it comes to flying down that first mountain, or trying to park in that last spot left at the truck stop at 2 am after driving for 10.5 hours without hardly a break. These are the times when you will be so grateful that your trainer is with you. I was thrilled to get away from my trainer, but there were plenty of days I was wishing his crazy self could have been there with me to help me get out of some stupid rookie mess I had gotten myself into.

Look forward to this time as a time to learn and soak in as much as you can. I was with a trainer for four weeks, and even though it was sufficient for me there are lots of reasons why I think a lengthy training period is beneficial. It just helps for a rookie to have someone there to keep them from making a really stupid mistake. It doesn't take but a split second of inattention or a slight miscalculation of the angle when backing in to a parking spot to get yourself into some serious trouble real quickly. Your trainer is kind of like a buffer between you and the real world of truck driving. He helps to fine tune your skills and your understanding of how it all comes together out there on the road.

The trainer gives up his privacy and his space in his truck so you can learn the ropes and you've got to appreciate that. I was very respectful with my trainer even though he was a certifiable nut. Once a few weeks had gone by and we had gotten to know each other a little bit better I started trying some humor on him, but the poor guy never could really tell how to take me. That just made it more fun for me though, because I kind of had him second guessing me half the time.

Training time is short though. I think it's too short, so try and learn all you can while being respectful and appreciative of what the trainer is doing for you. He's your ticket into a very enjoyable career. Some tickets just cost more than others, so do what ever it takes to get through it and you'll soon be on your own wishing you had that trainer back for just one more week.


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.
Rolling Thunder's Comment
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I just started my last of five weeks with my trainer a few hours ago. For my experience so far you can read my posts under the Starting School July 8th thread. I will say that my patience and tolerance has been tested, but, I know that everyday is one closer to being in my own truck. There is a lot to learn and butting heads is a given. just roll with the bad and hang on to the good. It has worked for me (with some venting) so far.

Sheffield Mick's Comment
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I will tell of my own experience Todd......as I had two trainers. And I couldn't be out here now on my own without each one of them. I learned so much and yes I tried to be as respectful as I could....even though the first guy I thought was very controlling and used to enjoy lecturing me in the art of professional truck driving. I can laugh about all that now but at the time it was very annoying. We did have our fall outs and I have to admit I wanted to leave half way through. Thankfully he talked me around to staying....and I'm so glad he did. The second guy was easier going, but very low on any kind of conversation.....if it wasn't to do with trucking. More relaxed but strange with long drawn out silences that I did get used too. He did teach me how to back a truck though....invaluable now that I'm on my own.

In spite of it all I'm still here and I wouldn't have swopped either trainer. As it is I still hear what they have to say in my head when I find myself in sticky situation. And just as a throw away line the first guy now wants to employee me privately as he is an owner operator. No I'm not going to work for him....I'm not that crazy.

Believe me I had the same reservations as you....I'm 56 and don't do well sharing a hotel room with another person let alone a box. My last suggestion would be to just roll with the punches and keep telling yourself its only six weeks. Mine was six weeks and then a further two weeks. I am so glad I stuck at it......its not easy, but it can be done.


Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.


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.
James925's Comment
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There are success stories out there of people who have had amazing trainers; I'm one of them. Unfortunately in the world of trucking, the good trainers get overshadowed by the bad ones. I, like you, heard of the horror stories about the bad trainers, and was literally praying every night leading up to meeting him that he wasn't one of "those guys." I fortunately had a great trainer.

Soak in as much as you can, and remember the trainer is probably just as scared of you as you are of him. He (or she) is taking a complete stranger on their truck, no idea of your habits, whether you're a good driver or a bad driver, what your work ethic is like, nothing. They are giving up their personal space with a complete stranger for a minimum of 4 weeks, sometimes more. Almost everything that happens on that truck is their responsibility.

Like was said, soak in as much as you can, and remember it's only temporary. Now no one here is saying that you have to tolerate it if things get completely out of hand. If things get to that point, then find a spot away from the trainer and contact dispatch and tell them you want off the truck. You, as a student, ALWAYS have that option, and don't think you need to get put through the wringer while you're on the trainers truck.

That being said, you also have to have a thick skin when driving a truck. You're trainer may fuss at you if you do something wrong. Like my trainer would tell me sometimes, "you gotta put on you're big boy pants." Nothing will ever go as planned in trucking. A clear day can end in a storm quite commonly on the road. And like Old School said, it only takes one moment of inattention and you're whole world will collapse around you. The trainer, like was said, is there as a buffer to keep you from making a potentially deadly mistake. And trust me, when you get out on you're own, you'll have at least one time in the first month where you wish you could turn to your trainer and ask "what do I do now?"

Hopefully you'll get a good trainer, someone who will teach you the fundamentals and show you everything you need to know. Don't be afraid to ask plenty of questions either, you'll only learn by asking! PS, I bought my trainer a cup of coffee from Starbucks when I first met him. That broke the ice, and definitely put him at ease...

Good luck!


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kip Brown (aka Six)'s Comment
member avatar

I think this again depends on the company. Roehl Transport has trainers that go through their training school and that is all they do for the company is train new drivers. With Roehl you're with a trainer for 11-14 days, not 6 weeks.


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