The Training Begins

Topic 1498 | Page 1

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Andy H. aka AZ Scooby's Comment
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I started my training at Southwest Truck Driver Training on Mon. I was the only one of 20 that obtained my permit outside of school. I got some funny looks on my first day. Everybody was like, " Who the heck is this guy?".

This whole week has been book work and videos. The videos have been pretty bad. They all looked like they were made in the early 80s and some contained information that's no longer true. So the teacher is constantly having to correct the videos as they're playing. We lost 3 people for attendance problems. There's also 2 students that are completely clueless. The instructor will spend 10 minutes talking about a subject and then move on to something else. After about 5 minutes one of them will ask, "What about *******?". We just spent 10 minutes talking about that. WTH were you doing the whole time. This happened 2-3Times a day. We got our truck assignments for next week and guess who's in my truck. The worst one. GREAT!!!!! She constantly interrupts the instructors also, so I hope I can block her out and concentrate on my own learning. I have no clue how they're passing the tests.

Everyday was at least one test plus a final. I received a final score of 99%. The highest in the class. Next closest score was 96%. It was funny because everybody was asking how could I possibly get better scores than they did because I Wasn't even there the first week. My answer, TT of course.

Next week starts with Pre-Trip in the morning. There's 4 groups. 2 groups will be doing Backing and 2 will be Driving on the road. I will be in the Driving group to start. We'll be going out by PIR (Phoenix International Raceway) which is in the middle of farmland. We'll do that for 2 days then we'll drive in traffic on the 3rd and 4th day. We were given a diagram of the shift pattern to study and memorize over the weekend. They have new International Prostars with 10 speed trannies. Cool thing is this is the exact same truck that the Roehl flatbed drivers get so it should be an easier transition for me. I've met all of the instructors and they are all very funny. They make a lot of jokes and keep the stress levels low. I talked with a few of the previous weeks students and they all had great things to say about the instructors. There was one girl that was having a really hard time and they didn't think she was going to pass. Come testing day they said something just clicked and she aced it. They said she broke out in tears she was so happy. I love hearing those kind of stories. They also said every student but one passed the test. The last one made one mistake and shifted on a RR track. He gets to retest either today or Mon and are convinced that he'll pass. They are really stressing to us to relax and listen. Everybody grinds gears, etc. Everybody messes up. Just stay calm, listen and learn. I think the next 2 weeks are going to be great.

Wish me luck and I'll keep everyone posted next week.

-Andy

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey, best of luck to ya and sounds like things are off to a great start! Glad you were so well prepared from our materials!

Keep us posted! smile.gif

Andy H. aka AZ Scooby's Comment
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Week 2:

Everything has been exactly as I mentioned before. We started out on Monday going over Pretrip for 4 hours. Then after lunch we hit the farmland roads. I will definitely say the first day was rough. The woman that I mentioned before (Judy) is a complete idiot. She absolutely refuses to follow the instructors directions. I'm amazed at the amount of patience these trainers have. Now don't get me wrong, if you screw up they yell. And she gets yelled at from the second she gets in the seat until he finally kicks her out of it for not listening.

So the last student gets in the driver's seat and starts driving. We come up to a right hand turn and he says he can't get it into gear no matter what he tries. The instructor tries to help but can't get it in gear. So they switch seats. Now the instructor has to jam the stick into gear to get it to go. He ends up forcefully floating the gears all the way back to the school so that we can switch trucks. It was so bad he was running stop signs with horns blowing just to know episode the truck moving. Next we make it back to school, the instructor limped the truck to where they lease their vehicle and picks up the loaner. The first truck was an International and the loaner is a Freightliner. At least the shift pattern is the same except in completely different locations so now we have to learn to shift a different truck. By the time all of this happens it's lunchtime and then on the pad for parking for the rest of the afternoon. This actually went okay for me. Not great but better than I expected. Tuesday was better, pretrip in the morning, then 4 hours of driving followed by backing (parking). I now like the Freightliner better than the International. Much easier to shift. Everybody but the woman improved.

Wednesday was pretty much the same except the woman was even worse today. She has got to be the most stubborn woman I have ever seen in my life. She just will not follow directions. Thursday was pretrip, then city driving and then more parking. City driving was actually fun to me. The instructor had one of the students drive us out. He spent almost 2 hours driving. Then it was my turn. He told me just drive where ever I want and zigzag around to practice turns. I was doing much better. Actually got a few good downshift in. For me, this is the hardest thing to learn. In the afternoon on the pad, I had my game on. I nailed all 3 parts on the first try every time I was in the seat. What a great feeling!!!!! I'm trying not to get too ****y or complacent. I know I'm still a student and tomorrow I could screw up every time so I'll remain humble for now.

Overall I think this week has gone well for most of the class. There was one drop out on the second day and there's at least 3 that are struggling from what I hear from the other groups.

Next week is testing and more practice. I'll post more as it happens.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Enjoying your posts Andy, looking forward to hearing more!

Andy H. aka AZ Scooby's Comment
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Third and final week.

Monday was just more practice. Half day of backing and half day of driving.

Tuesday we were supposed to get tested on Pretrip but there was a mix up. Each of the testers thought the other was testing us so they pushed us back another day. We also got our original truck back. We had been driving a Freightliner for the last week and a day and now we got the International back. This made us all nervous as the Freightliner was much easier to shift. So we got another day of practice. Turns out I was the only one that had no problems with the transition. It was like I'd been driving it the whole time. That was huge relief for me.

Wednesday we did our pretrip and backing tests. Zero points off on each. Everybody in schools calling me an over achiever. If you follow their directions and study it's hard to mess up but most students do on one thing or another. The woman in our truck nailed all 3 backing tests on the first try but when she did the parallel she stopped and just sat in the truck for a minute. So rather than using a GOAL, she starts backing up and eradicating. She had that truck so twisted it was painful to watch. She ended up hitting 8 cones and drove over the line 3 times before finally getting it back in the spot. Crazy thing is, she sat there for a minute again and then started to back up AGAIN. At this point the tester told her stop and turn off the truck. She got out and started swearing every 4 letter word in the book. What she didn't know was the tester just saved her from failing. She was only one more point away from doing just that. So, let this be a lesson to anyone who has not gotten to this point yet. In the backing test you get 2 GOALs on the Offset and 2 on the Parallel. Use them. You won't lose any points and you're gonna be using them in real life so just do it. The rest of the day is more driving and we get our driving test schedule for Thursday. I'm first at 6am.

Thursday is Driving test day. I arrived at 5:45 with some pretty major butterflies in my stomach. I bought a ginger ale on the way in and it actually helped. I ended up waiting til about 6:20 before the tester was ready. So here we go. I make the first turn out of the school parking lot and immediately I'm grinding. WTH? I didn't grind a gear more than twice the day before and now I'm doing it right out the gate. Take a deep breath and tell myself to calm down. I nailed the next gear before getting to the stoplight for the first right hand turn. I made a decision before coming in today that I would take the turns a little wider than in practice. I would rather lose a point for that than to fail because I drove over a curb. The rest of the test was just a couple of rights and lefts, we got on the interstate for 2 exits and drove over the train tracks twice and then back to school. We pull back in and the tester says, "Good job. You past." What a relief. I'm smiling ear to ear. Tester even told me that I was the highest scoring student that has been trained by my driving instructor since he first started teaching there. He's still pretty new and hasn't perfected his training style yet. Overall I'm very happy with the school and the trainers. I wasn't there all day to see who passed or failed except for my group. The other guy passed with just 3 more points off than me and the woman failed. She drove over a curb right off the bat. I knew she would never pass. She was horrible. Never listened to anything the instructor tried to tell her for the 2 weeks she was training. Oh well. Her loss.

Anyways, I also got confirmation on my start date with Roehl. I'll be back in Phoenix Sunday night for Monday orientation. I got extremely lucky. Turns out that they rarely do orientation and training from their Phx location but my class ended at the exact time the training starts. I'll start a new thread on my Roehl experiences. I'm doing Western Regional Flatbed. And thanks to everyone and TT for the much needed support. I hope to see you on the road soon!!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations Scooby, The real fun begins now!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Yeah, congrats on flying through that training like it was nothing!!!

Just remember, the hardest part is just beginning and you're almost certainly going to have some ups and downs. Stay confident, keep listening and learning, and try to have fun out there. Remind yourself when you're having "one of those days" that as long as you don't hit anything it's all just temporary. Don't get too caught up in the moment or start carrying the tough times with you. Live life out there one moment at a time, count your blessings, and try to enjoy yourself. It's a great career for the right person with the right personality and attitude. You just can't let the tough times get to you.

smile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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