Should I Ask For A New Trainer?

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toonces's Comment
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I've been trying to stick it out but I think I might be missing a lot by staying with her.

There are safety issues I think. We've been driving since Friday and today was the first time we've done a pretrip and it was only because I asked. Last night she told me to be ready at 6:15 this morning and I was. 6:45 comes and she's still in bed but awake. I say "I'm ready when you are" and she tells me I can go ahead and do the pretrip. I said I haven't done one on a Crete truck yet and would like to have a trainer show me at least the first time. She said "Yes you have. You know when we went around and thumped the tires, that was your pretrip." Well we only did that once and that was all we did in the way of a pretrip. She told me I could do a more in - depth pretrip on my own if I wanted. I again said, I would like you to show me at least the first time, I don't feel comfortable doing it by myself. So she did one but was really condescending and kept asking "Do you feel safe now? Are you comfortable now?" I asked about what to check on the self-inflating tires on the trailer since I have never seen those, and she said "Nothing. Breakdown doesn't even know anything about those" And we didn't do an air brakes test or check the the tire depth or tractor lights. She keeps giving me a hard time when I slow down around curves and when someone comes in front of me to increase me following distance. It's only my 4th day of driving in training, of course I'm going slow! And there are things she tells me to do that I think are DOT violations but I can't be sure because when I ask her she just says "only if a DOT official is around" or "just don't get caught". Like going off-duty at a shipper , after 30 minutes, is that ok if we're still driving around? Or going off-duty at a truck stop but driving, is that ok? I could look this stuff up in my school textbook but I left it at home to save space. And she blew her air horn at a guy because he cut her off.

And there are other things like she pees outside behind the truck at truck stops because she doesn't want to walk "all the way inside". And she told me I'm going to have to get used to peeing outside so we don't have to stop much. I told her I really don't feel comfortable with that. And she told me I was hurting her feelings because I wasn't talking to her enough while I was driving. I told her I was trying to concentrate and she just said "well you're always going to have distractions." And she keeps asking my opinion on really I inappropriate things like politics and homosexuality. This stuff I can deal with but not the safety things.

Am I overreacting? I know the advice on her is almost always to try to stick it out. What should I do? Should I just stick it out and hope I can figure some stuff out on my own?

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sambo's Comment
member avatar

Life as a truck driver is going to be hard, but you don't need someone being condescending and aggressive while in training. I'm not saying they should use kids Gloves, because they need to teach the real ways of the road, but they also need to teach the right way.

Knowing how to do a good Pre trip can save you headaches and money later on, and it can help keep you csa scores intact.

From what I've gathered, it's pretty common to go off duty while at the shipper or receiver. I was told if you are not working, then you are off duty. So, if you are waiting, then, yes, off duty. Even if you are driving around their facility, looking for a trailer, while technically you should be in drive mode, I don't think anyone does.

As far as Pre trip or any safety related issue, there should be no skimping there. If you feel that your current trainer is not going to provide you with the correct information, then, yes, I would talk to your driver manager , or development manager.

I get up every day and do a good Pre trip, maybe not perfect, but I try. It's a good habit to get in to, so when you are out there, you know what is and what is not wrong with your equipment, also, you don't have to sweat when pulling in to an inspection station.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

Driver Manager:

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I say stick it out - here's why.

Now you learned how to do a pre-trip already, right? So go for it! Do a thorough pre-trip each day before you roll. If your trainer isn't interested then just do it yourself. No big deal.

I again said, I would like you to show me at least the first time, I don't feel comfortable doing it by myself. So she did one but was really condescending and kept asking "Do you feel safe now? Are you comfortable now?"

Ignore that kind of stuff. Don't let it bother you. As a trucker you're going to have to have a thick skin. People are going to insult you and give you the finger and make you sit in parking lots for hours just because they don't like truckers. That's just the nature of life in this industry. So don't worry for one minute if she's a little snarky sometimes. You're going to have to deal with a lot worse than that.

As far as going off duty at shippers, most people do that. That's normal also.

As far as telling you to drive faster around curves or down hills or any of that - ignore that also and drive however you're comfortable driving. Naturally as you get more experience you'll go faster around curves and such but right now stick with what's comfortable for you. There's no hurry. That stuff won't make five minutes worth of difference in a day. Just tell her you're going to stick with the speed you feel comfortable with because you're not ready to take it any faster right now. Don't sweat it.

As far as talking about topics you're not comfortable with - don't talk about them. Chances are she wants to express her opinion but probably doesn't care that much about yours. So take advantage of that and encourage her to talk about them if it makes her feel better but simply sidestep the questions when it's your turn. Just make up something bland and neutral.

Listen, the reality is that training in this industry is done pretty hard and fast. Very few trainers really have the personality for it, nor do they have the patience. Take it upon yourself to ask a lot of questions and when you're driving make sure no one forces you into anything you're not comfortable doing.

But you've only been out there a few days. Take it slow and give it time.

Here are some articles that might help you out quite a bit - they're called "The Trainer's Viewpoint" and they'll give you a lot of insights into how to deal with certain types of trainers and how to get through the process:

The Trainer's Viewpoint

Listen, keep us updated on how things go. Hopefully she'll do a good job overall but all trainers have their quirks. Some of it you just have to ignore and focus on the task at hand which is learning your trade. Once you get through this you'll never see her again the rest of your life. Just drive safely, keep a positive attitude, and roll with the punches. But keep us updated on things and don't let her talk you into driving in a manner you're uncomfortable with.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Oh, here are two articles from The Trainer's Viewpoint that are of particular interest:

A Driver Trainer's Perspective: Some Helpful Tips And Observations For Student Drivers

Types of Trainers and How to Deal With Them

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Brett. A pretrip is a pre trip.. Doesn't matter that you had never done one on your trainer's truck. You did learn how in school. A truck is a truck is a truck.

Ok, so your trainer is a nasty person.. She has plenty of company there unfortunately.. That's simply a personality conflict.. She does shower regularly i hope.

She may be an excellent driver with great backing skills. Give her a chance. Get to know her before passing judgment.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Here's my question.... do u have a permit or a CDL? If you have a permit then the two of u should be doing a pretrip 2 to 3 times a day to prepare you for the test. In orientation they gave us a sheet and did a pretrip on a monitor ONCE. After that we did pretrip with our trainers to correct us.

If this is the case I suggest youtube video by Apex driving school for pretrip. It's a different truck but all the parts are always the same. If u know what a brake chamber looks like you can find it on your truck.

If u have ur CDL then you should know what to look for. I'm going to admit here.... I had 3 trainers.. my first had me do the pretrip while I had the permit. He checked me once a day. I already knew pretrip from the video I suggested. The other two trainers RARELY did a thorough pretrip. The one would walk around and kick the tires once a day...pop the hood every other week.... and wash the windows. Not once did they do a brake test.... the first did for me to pass the test. The second two trainers are no longer trainers as we discussed in another thread.

If safety is your concern then watch the video I suggested and do your own pretrip. As brett said, go your safe speeds. I did 40 mph in the snow and my trainer called me driving miss daisy. I've gotten yelled at on the CB and at customers.... I yell back. Screw them. If I have to put my hazards on and climb a hill in 6th gear I do it. Same with curves. I'm a witch and would say "do u want this truck down the side of the mountain or headed to the dock?"

As far as urinating in public.... that is a criminal offense taken so seriously in NJ that if caught they put you on the sex offender registry. There is no way I have ever, nor will ever do it.

On the road solo there WILL be instances... as gross as it sounds.... when you need to go and no restroom is near. Here's a tip: I have a rubbermaid container with a sealable lid... line it with a trash bag and put pine kitty litter in it. No odor. Then just toss the bag at next truck stop. Best to be prepared for these things than not. The 44 Oz soda cups work well to... use then dump outside. There is NO reason to use a truck stop parking lot... that is just lazy... and yes.. my one trainer did it too.

As a team....you don't run out of hours so won't be stuck someplace without a restroom. There are roads that go on forever with nothing around. Especially in places like Kansas or texas. Using my methods on the truck is not something to do in front of the trainer, so in an instance of 300 mile stretch with nothing around you have to decide what is more important... your dignity or your bladder exploding.

Even when you go solo, you are going to have to teach yourself a ton of stuff... make all the decisions...and find the resources to help you figure out what to do. It's hard to be with someone for weeks to months who is an @$$... put your headphones on and ignore her. When parked get out of the truck to get away from her.

A simple "I don't talk about controversial topics.. they lead to arguments" should do... then ignore her. She is right though there will be a ton of distractions out here... even the signs are distractions so you need to read fast.

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.

Dm:

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.
toonces's Comment
member avatar

Yes I learned how to do a pretrip. But there are things they use that I'm not familiar with, like the self-inflating tires and other things, that would be good if someone just went over once with me. I can live with that though, it's the driving things that bother me. Yesterday when someone crossed into my Iane in front of me, I began to decrease speed to 55 to increase following distance. She freaked out and said 150 ft was a safe following distance for the interstate. I told her that wasn't what I learned in school or Crete orientation and she said she didn't remember hearing that. And she told me to ignore the signs that say Engine Brake Prohibited.

I'm going to try following Brett's advice and drive the way I'm comfortable even when she tells me to do something else. I'll see how that goes.

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
I'm going to try following Brett's advice and drive the way I'm comfortable even when she tells me to do something else. I'll see how that goes.

Excellent. And please let us know how it goes. Just do your best to be non-confrontational. Ask a lot of questions, be kind, and be tolerant. But never compromise safety and never let someone talk you into doing something you're not comfortable with. Also, don't let her talk you into things that are illegal of course like ignoring signs like "Engine Brake Prohibited". It's easy for her to tell you to ignore signs when you're the one that's going to get the points on your license and pay the fines if you get caught.

Stay within your comfort zone, focus on safety, and try your best to get along with her. Keep us updated on how things go.

Oh, and one last thing. Consider secretly keeping track of things she says that you feel are out of line. Write down the date and time and what she said. Hopefully no one will ever have to see any of this stuff and you can toss it in the trash once the training is complete. But if things begin to escalate and you need to protect yourself or request another trainer it will look very good to have these records. It's one thing to say, "She's a jerk and she's unsafe and I don't like her." It's quite another to have a list of dates, times, and the exact things she has said. That will show your company that you're being reasonable, professional, and factual. You're not just trying to make her look bad or getting emotional or personal.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
there are things they use that I'm not familiar with, like the self-inflating tires and other things, that would be good if someone just went over once with me

Oh I totally understand. And hopefully she'll go over it with you. Consider writing down questions you'd like answers to and maybe ask her when she's in a better mood. You want to learn all you can but the reality is you're dealing with people who get moody at times. So try to find the right times to ask things if they can safely wait a short time.

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Everything's already been covered here, but I remember when I was in training I appreciated all the extra advice I could get, so here's my 2 cents. If she's not annoying you to the point you're going nuts, just stick it out. The pretrip thing isn't that bad really. She's just annoyed. And to be honest, even though I think she should have done the pretrip with you in the first place, I would be annoyed too if my student needed me to hold their hand for something they should already know.

As far as relieving herself outside, not gonna lie--I do it all the time, but I'm a guy so it's a little easier (or so I've heard...haha). Sometimes there's no where else to go. It also saves a lot of time if I'm on a tight run. Just don't get caught.

The driving stuff--are you ok with the way she drives? As long as you don't think HER driving is very unsafe, don't sweat it. When you're driving, you are in control, not her. She can tell at you until she's blue in the face, but YOU are the one behind he wheel.

At the same time though, I remember when I was a student not too long ago, and it drove me nuts when my trainer would distract me when I was driving. Neither one really bothered me about the stuff you're talking about, but my first trainer always had the music going and my second trainer laughed at me for how slowly I went around the curves. The music thing really bothered me because I like to turn it off sometimes to help me focus. One time going through Denver, I turned it off and he turned it right back on. I was super stressed because it was dark out and there was a good amount of traffic--not something I was used to yet. I could handle it fine without the music, but it was over the top for me with it on. When I brought it up later, he more or less (can't remember exactly what he said) said he was trained to do it. He wanted us to either talk while I was driving or have the music on as a light distraction. Apparently something Swift trains their mentors to look for is the ability to stay engaged and focused even with stress and distractions. He and I talked it through and reached a compromise--I could turn the music off sometimes as long as we kept talking. He just didn't want me freezing up going down the interstate. To this day, I actually drive without the music most of the time. Turns out that's just one of my "things."

The point is, talk with your mentor about it if you think that might help. Sometimes bringing something up can make things worse, but if you think it might help then give it a shot. More or less, ask her if you can just agree to disagree on a few things and be specific about what those things are. If you want it to work, just ask about the safety stuff you've mentioned there--going around curves a little more slowly and increasing following distance when someone cuts you off.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you only have to put up with her in the passenger seat for a little while longer. Does Crete use teaming during training like most of the other companies? If so, most of your training she'll be fast asleep with her mouth shut.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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