Decided To Go With Swift. Will Be Attending Phoenix Academy In Feb. To Get My CDL

Topic 1682 | Page 1

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Brett C.'s Comment
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First of all thank you Brett for this very informative site! I have been doing online research to decide which company to start with and it has been hard with all the negativity out there. I decided to go with Swift because 1. they have a veteran's scholarship that will make the CDL school free of charge to me due to my military service, 2. The school is in Phoenix where my oldest son lives so I will be able to see him in my spare time. 3. Swift seems to offer the best opportunity for me to become the best trucker I can be with different options regarding comfort zones and dedicated accounts in the future. This site has been by far the most positive and informative that I've seen and I look forward to learning from all the experienced drivers on here and those I will encounter on the road.

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.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Brett C. congratulations on your first step into trucking. Swift is a fine company, and they do have alot of options. And AZ....my favorite state...it has everything !! So I'm hoping you have started the High Road Training Program so you can learn all you can before you get into school...And it will make school sooo much easier, and make oyu look some much better than the rest of the class. So get in there and learn all you can, cuz you will use all you learn...trust me

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.
Traffic Jam (SunnyWalker.'s Comment
member avatar

Dear Brett C: I see a lot of Swift drivers coming into the Dollar General service ctr., at Ardmore, OK where our company is part of the account. They all have clean trucks and seem to be doing real well. Early on I learned not to worry about . . . learning! We all have to start somewhere and the most skilled truck driver had to learn backing like I did at one time or another. Have fun!

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.
Brett C.'s Comment
member avatar

It's nice to get some positive encouragement on here, thank you guys! There are a lot of forums that are filled with negative attitudes and I understand everybody will not be happy with where they are but it can't be all bad right? This is a big step for me and not a decision I am taking lightly so the more information I can gather before I attend school the better off I will be I think.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Welcome aboard Brett C!

I understand everybody will not be happy with where they are but it can't be all bad right?

It certainly is not all bad and I'm glad you've found our site. Just ignore all of the negative garbage you've read elsewhere about trucking. 98% of the garbage you read is just that - garbage. It's either half-truths or blatant lies and you'll never hear the other side of the story. And a ton of people get into trucking that really don't belong in trucking or they go in with the wrong attitude and expectations. When things go predictably horrible for them they generally feel the need to save face by blaming others.

Have a read through our Truck Driver's Career Guide. It's loaded with great information about pretty much every topic imaginable pertaining to getting your trucking career underway.

Brett C.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Brett A. I have a question for the experienced guys and gals out there. I can either start the driving academy in early Jan. of early Feb. The latter of those if I do another season delivering trees all over Ca. (the job that got me interested in trucking as a career) in a 24' bobtail. I was thinking about passing on the tree delivery season but that would put me on the road with a trainer in late Jan. or early Feb. and i'm not sure it would be a good idea to be a newbie driver driving in the harsh winter conditions. Does anybody have any advice either way on this matter? I realize I need to learn to operate in bad weather but I wonder if it might be better after I have a little time in the seat, or would it be better to make sure I learn bad weather driving with a trainer?

Bobtail:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett, I'm your man. I started training in December. I can tell you from firsthand experience that its more difficult. It's already hard enough to learn how to drive on dry pavement, but then you have to learn how to drive on ice. A lot of times you'll feel uncomfortable. It's a lot harder and many people don't recommend it.

However I disagree, I think that starting training during winter is a great way to learn how to drive in harsh conditions. You won't go through an entire winter but you'll definitely get the taste of it. When you have a trainer with you the trainer can point out what you're doing wrong and what you need to do instead. He can provide feedback. But when you're driving in the winter by yourself for the first time who can tell you what you're doing is dangerous? Sure it'll be difficult, but in my opinion I think learning how to drive in harsh conditions is better to do with a trainer than having to "figure" it out on your own.

Here's the thing, during the summer time every trucker is dependent on the engine brakes. But when the road is wet you can't use engine brakes so you have to only rely on your brake pedal. If you've never done a winter before and you're so used to using the engine brakes then how uncomfortable will you feel when you aren't supposed to use the engine brakes? You're going to be lost because you've never been in the position were you couldn't use the engine brakes. It's better to learn how to go down a downgrade without engine brakes with your trainer looking after you rather than you going down a downgrade by yourself and trying to figure it out.

This topic is definitely controversial. But I feel like starting training during the winter is beneficial just because you have the advantage of having a trainer who will teach you rather than you learning by yourself through trial and error. I was 21 when I started my training, and if I could do it then I think so can you. Especially since you already have some form of experience and I didn't. I think it's better in the long run.

This is just my opinion. There's many people who will disagree with it. Ultimately it's up to you. Just make sure you're ready, it's not easy.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Yeah, I agree with Daniel. I wouldn't avoid getting your career started in the winter time. It will definitely be more difficult in some ways but more helpful in others.

And the main idea of being out on the road with a trainer is to have someone there making sure you don't get in over your head. So I wouldn't imagine you'd be driving through the really harsh conditions unless your trainer knew you could handle it and was there to guide you if necessary.

So I wouldn't avoid getting your career started in winter time. And I'm from outside Buffalo, NY so I know about driving in the snow.

Brett C.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel and Brett, Thank you for the good advice. I worked it out on paper and I am available to start the Swift academy on Dec. 2nd (if they give me the ok) and since it's a 3 week academy I would be able to be home for Christmas before orientation. I am taking your advice and I understand that it would be better to learn how to drive a truck in adverse conditions and have that trainer there to keep me from getting in over my head. I hope I will be able to get the ball rolling and be in the Dec. 2nd academy!

Traffic Jam (SunnyWalker.'s Comment
member avatar

Weather may turn out to be great for the school. Don't sweat the small stuff. At any rate sooner or later you'll have to learn to drive in adverse conditions. I think it would be better to do so with a trainer. -Traffic Jam

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