How To Approach This Issue?

Topic 15023 | Page 1

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Ronny S.'s Comment
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I recently started the training session of my class portion with wil trans. I'll be on board with a trainer for 10k miles (or at least 75 hours of driving time) before going to take my Cdl exam. However after just 3 days with the trainer, I'm already kind of feeling like I'm a burden on my trainer (and possibly with good reason) . He's a leased operator so he's very conscious of his fuel mileage and the loads he takes as I'm sure he should. He recently told me that he gets a $500 bonus for every student that passes the cdl on first try. No pressure right? Anyway, I've been having some trouble with city driving. Mainly starting again after a red light. (neutral/brake drama) Can't mention how many mini heartattacks I've had almost rolling back, or killing the truck. I'm also having a hard time knowing exactly when to downshift and get it right with the rpms on this truck. The simulators we used were much more forgiving. I either overshoot or don't clutch the gear back in quick enough. I'm sure I'll smooth that out with time, but I've noticed that his patience is starting to wear thin since I'm not going fast or maybe I'm not learning fast enough for him. I've also noticed that he's not exactly paying attention to me or the road either. (usually looking at his phone) Earlier today on an incline there was a flashing 45mph sign and I down shifted to slow down into 9th gear and he got upset because I grinded and was costing him his fuel mileage. When I told him about the sign we passed he just mentioned that the way he prefers to drive over Hills is to cruise and slightly accelerate while going up to give the truck a boost instead of having to downshift. Not exactly sure on the timing of that either, but I've just been trying to follow what he says to do as best as I can. He's recently told me about a few times he's been in the hole on his payments from leasing so I know he's been in a rush to get these loads in on time. I'm just not sure how I should approach him, he's a nice guy, I really want this for myself and I want to be as safe as possible, but I just don't know how to go about opening up the barrier for conversation on ways to improve myself. I'm enjoying my experience so far. It's still very early, I'm not at all discouraged, this is just one of those tiny humps I'll have to hop over to progress further. Any advice TT?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

You're a student. You are suppose to be screwing up now. This is where you learn. He's a teacher, and it's his job to teach you. Don't let his negative check get into your head. My trainer at Prime had the same issue at times (negative check). It's also why you shouldn't just jump right into leasing, without first saving up some capital.

Is he teaching you to float gears or double clutch? A trick I was told when floating, think Adam's Family. Get your RPMS up, the party of the song where they snap their fingers, is the time in neutral, going to the next gear. This allows the RPM to fall back into range.

Down shifting..... out at 1100 vroof the engine up to 15, and as the rpms fall, you should "catch" the lower gear.

Practice practice practice.

Float Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

Ronny S.'s Comment
member avatar

You're a student. You are suppose to be screwing up now. This is where you learn. He's a teacher, and it's his job to teach you. Don't let his negative check get into your head. My trainer at Prime had the same issue at times (negative check). It's also why you shouldn't just jump right into leasing, without first saving up some capital.

Is he teaching you to float gears or double clutch? A trick I was told when floating, think Adam's Family. Get your RPMS up, the party of the song where they snap their fingers, is the time in neutral, going to the next gear. This allows the RPM to fall back into range.

Down shifting..... out at 1100 vroof the engine up to 15, and as the rpms fall, you should "catch" the lower gear.

Practice practice practice.

Well, I was taught to double clutch and for the exam I need to double clutch. He floats his, which is fine. I actually haven't tried floating them downwards only up and that's a pretty smooth transition for my shifts going up. I'm definitely going to give what you said a try though.

And yeah, I definitely don't expect to be great at this anytime soon. I am the student and I want to learn as much as I possibly can before being out on my own. Today was really only my second time driving out on the road. I actually managed to get through small city without being too much of a nervous wreck. But absolutely the last thing on my mine is a fuel mileage bonus LOL

Float Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

As far as comunicating with him, try as humbly as possible to explain to him that you are trying to learn what he already knows. That you look forward to his constructive input. That you want to learn the driving tricks to eventually get fuel bonuses for yourself. Also, tell him you are nervous about all you're trying to learn and talking out issues with him. Hopefully, that would give him an opening to make things better. Best of luck. Isn't Wil Trans owned by Jim Palmer Trucking? Do they have seperate training?

Ronny S.'s Comment
member avatar

As far as comunicating with him, try as humbly as possible to explain to him that you are trying to learn what he already knows. That you look forward to his constructive input. That you want to learn the driving tricks to eventually get fuel bonuses for yourself. Also, tell him you are nervous about all you're trying to learn and talking out issues with him. Hopefully, that would give him an opening to make things better. Best of luck. Isn't Wil Trans owned by Jim Palmer Trucking? Do they have seperate training?

Thanks for your input, I will try that as well. I think it's the other way around wil owns Jim, but they're basically the same training except wil trans operates in Missouri and Jim palmer in Montana. They essentially are the same company. Their training program is based on Prime.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Thanks for your input, I will try that as well. I think it's the other way around wil owns Jim, but they're basically the same training except wil trans operates in Missouri and Jim palmer in Montana. They essentially are the same company. Their training program is based on Prime.

double-quotes-end.png

Thanks for that info. Good luck.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

But absolutely the last thing on my mine is a fuel mileage bonus LOL

This is absolutely as it should be. Since he's leasing, it's probably not a bonus, it's just less money out of his pocket.

It upsets me a little when I hear about trainers burdening their students with stuff that doesn't matter yet when you're learning to drive, like fuel mileage on your second day of driving. Looking at his phone ticks me off too. He should be 100% focused on helping you learn. I suspect that he is training because he's in the hole and hoping to get out of the hole by taking a student to run team. That is not uncommon.

I'm not sure exactly what to say to him, other than to remind him politely and respectfully that you're trying to learn how to control the truck, which will include grinding gears from time to time. Then ask him how he learned to start out from a dead stop on an incline with a load. It's not hard, but it takes some practice to get the feel for it. Just remember it's not a car. You don't have to give it gas right when you let out the clutch as long as you're in a low enough gear. Once you let out the clutch, there's no need for brakes, and it takes a moment for the truck to start rolling back when you let off the brakes, so let off the brake as you let out the clutch and by the time your right foot is on the accelerator, you'll be rolling forward.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately this seems to be the new paradigm in training these days. These large companies talk everyone into leasing, knowing that a certain percentage of them will not do well. When they begin to struggle the company encourages them to take a student along to get their business back on track.

So you're in the unenviable position of trying to learn a dangerous and difficult trade while someone else is trying to use you to get their business back on track. You have two completely different agendas. Not only that, but when someone leases a truck they're under the impression they get to be the Big Boss Man now instead of "just" a company driver. When things don't go as well as they had expected, which they normally don't, they're obviously stressed out and rather embarrassed by the whole situation.

Unfortunately you're a constant reminder to him that he's doing poorly. He likely had no intention of ever being in this position, and in fact likely thought it would be quite the opposite. He thought he'd have more free time, more money, and more fun cruising the country alone being his own boss. So this is not at all what he was hoping for.

All you can do is talk humbly to him about the situation, and I stress humbly as Big Scott had mentioned because these guys tend to have rather fragile egos. Just explain to him that you understand the tough position that he's in and you know that he understands yours. The best thing you can do is work together to help each other out. Tell him you'll do everything you can to drive his truck the way he wants it driven but that he has to keep in mind you're brand new at this and it doesn't come easy. If he can do his best to train you without stressing you out you'll do your best to drive the truck safely and efficiently.

Unfortunately this situation will never be a bed of roses. The guy surely isn't happy about any of this. As hard as it is being a brand new driver it's just as stressful trying to train one. To make matters worse, it's his truck now that you're driving so the consequences of even a fender bender for him are that much worse. So he's gotta be totally stressed out and frustrated as can be.

Just keep your cool with him at all times. Remember, if things really start going downhill and you guys aren't getting along you can always request a different trainer. But don't throw that in his face or anything. Just remind him to keep his cool with you, be patient, and teach you all he can. The better he does as a teacher the more of a help you'll be in getting his business back on track. You're in it together.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Ron, I can't tell you what to say, you being the newbie and your instructor being the teacher and all. But here are some thoughts:

You may be the free labor/ driver and your instructor is getting paid extra for his trouble, but the bottom line is he needs to be busy passing on his knowledge and techniques to the new guy. If you're doing your best to get traffic and shifting down, he needs to be watching and guiding you through it all.

As for mileage, if you think about OTR driving, all your fuel mileage is made on the interstate. A 700 mile trip maybe has 20 miles on local roads. So the mileage cruising at 62mph for 680 miles will cover the fuel guzzling 20 miles in town. (As a new guy, don't try to tell your teacher all this. You're the new guy, for goodness sake!)

And the road training, of course, is temporary. Learn what you can, be patient, and soon you'll be in your own truck.

OTR:

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.

Interstate:

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

Matt M.'s Comment
member avatar

Your trainer is a tool. A tool to teach you enough to get your CDL , nothing more. Just be broad-shouldered and learn what you can from him, and get your CDL.

Don't worry about fuel mileage, passing everything the first time, or any of that nonsense. Everyone that passes the CDL test can just barely drive a truck, grinding gears and missing gears is still very much the norm. Almost everyone is nervous as hell taking the test too, it's asinine to try to put pressure on someone to pass the first time.

My wife continually killed the truck taking off when she started, the way I fixed it was have her reverse and take off in different gears just to roll forward a bit and get used to that clutch (probably 200 times while we were waiting to get loaded at this one place, got lots of funny looks). The shifting just takes practice.

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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