My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Topic 18536 | Page 2

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MB007's Comment
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Week 1 Day 6 Saturday class was short. Covered "book" stuff: Using the Truck PC system, understanding hazmat and federal safety rules and organization. Glad to know that "lumpers" costs will be reimbursed. Roehl makes it easy to work for them. If you can shift gears, back a trailer and follow rules, you can make it. The instructor was very helpful and informative. Free lunch voucher.

I drove home for the weekend to recuperate. Making sure everything is not bent. Not cracked. Not broken.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Eric H.'s Comment
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Mister B, don't forget to make sure everything is properly mounted and secure!! And no leaks....

I'm glad things are going good for you down there is Gary. I almost went to Gary but told them to just send up here to Appleton instead. Hope you have a great rest of your Sunday. And good luck on Week 2. I'm sure you're looking forward to it as much as I am.

And the way you all do Pre-Trip is a great idea. We've hardly went over it at all. Which has me worried. But I'm gonna take what you all do and see if my group wants to give it a shot. Sounds like a great way to get it down.

MB007's Comment
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Mister B, don't forget to make sure everything is properly mounted and secure!! And no leaks....

I'm glad things are going good for you down there is Gary. I almost went to Gary but told them to just send up here to Appleton instead. Hope you have a great rest of your Sunday. And good luck on Week 2. I'm sure you're looking forward to it as much as I am.

And the way you all do Pre-Trip is a great idea. We've hardly went over it at all. Which has me worried. But I'm gonna take what you all do and see if my group wants to give it a shot. Sounds like a great way to get it down.

Yes sir! Not cracked. Not broken. No illegal welds!

See if they have a "Roehl" format Pre-Trip form. You definitely NEED to be on Pre-Trip. My 2 partners and I were discussing that if we memorize enough, we think we can talk our trainer in to giving us more road time.

MB007's Comment
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Week 2 Day 2

Skipped a day of reporting. Monday was rough. Seemed our instructor was having a bad day and we didn't help his mood with with poor straight and offset backing. Not only that, but none of us studied our pre-trip recitation over the weekend, so we were all rusty. One of us did backing flawlessly. I played around with a toy tractor-trailer this morning and figured out that I was identifying the wrong mistakes while backing. A good tip that helped me do it perfectly before was "turn toward the mistake." For some reason I was not identifying the disappearing trailer as the mistake. Had a little misunderstanding on some other issues and things got worse. I left feeling rather defeated.

Under some rather unfortunate—and bizarre—circumstances, I had a new roommate that left (to get his own room). So now I have this spot to myself (no complaint!). Maybe some of you all will experience something like this. If you do, remain calm. Be understanding. Try to be friendly. But don't put your life/sanity on the line. Remove yourself from the situation with the bare necessities and contact your trainer ASAP. I ducked out quietly and went home for the night. I didn't think about it, but I probably could have borrowed a bunk room at the terminal.

Today was a better day. We sat in on a presentation of the Roehl Way and learned about safety principles. But the best part was that we got on a 2 lane highway and more streets. I am really starting to get a feel for this beast known as a tractor-trailer. I still grind alot of gears and ran over a curb. But I feel more confident. Practice makes perfect.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

MB007's Comment
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Week 2 Day 3

Got to drive around the yard and drop a trailer properly today. But most of day was focused on cramming for Pre-Trip Inspection—the entire ten page process (including tug tests and governor cut-out test) must be recited precisely. Our group of 3 were told we had to get at least 85% correct by Friday (day after tomorrow) morning or we would be fired. We are not doing as well as management hoped (they have no argument from me). I am glad to have such a deadline and opportunity to focus as I feel I'm doing too many things and not able to do anything well. So I can't stay long to write and I'm going to skip the Day 4 entry. I'll let you all know what happened. I look forward to this challenge.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

MB007's Comment
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Week 2, Day 6

Failed the pre-trip and the air brake tests. Had a very stressful and negative morning and was pretty much cursed for the day. My mistakes were simple and rather embarrassing (such as not turning the key to the ON position after the governor cut-out test in preparation for the first 3-point air brake test and transposing steering tread tire depth with drive/trailer tread depth). Drove around the airport road and was tense. But it ended well when a different instructor let me try disconnecting and recoupling a trailer with success. He also gave me some great advice regarding downshifting and when doubling down and starting out in 4th, 5th or 6th gear. Although I would like to be a super-fast downshifter, it just doesn't seem feasible when you have zero previous experience with manual transmission and only have 4 weeks to test for your CDL. Grasping the fundamentals with some shortcuts seems appropriate.

This is an incredibly trying experience in many, many ways. I feel like a fighter in the ring and the coach (classmates and family) are pushing me back in after I stumble into the ropes after not dodging or blocking some powerful blows. Saturday mornings seem to be reserved for book stuff and presentations. Today we learned about Roehl operations and suggestions for living in truck and maintaining family. From what I have observed and experienced so far, I believe Roehl is a well-organized and well-run organization. They also seem to reward hard work and try to give drivers the support they need to get the job done right.

I am half-way through with the program. I am now back at home for a day and half to wash clothes and eat some home-cooked food. Will probably have a new roommate when I return to the hotel on Sunday.

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.
MB007's Comment
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Week 3, Day 1.

Fired. Was let go amicably due to my lack of improvement with downshifting, backing and pre-trip (essentially ALL of driving). I wholeheartedly agreed. I tried my best in this entire endeavor. The CDL program is intense. Some who fail it—like me—go to private CDL school—and come back to work for Roehl. If I had the money and time I would seriously consider a private longer-course school. Although I believe my outcome would have been slightly better under a different trainer, I seem to be the type that requires more time in the seat than a four-week Get Your CDL program offers. Regardless, I hope my journal is helpful. Not sure if I'll be checking in anymore as I'm a bit jaded by the industry right now. Regardless, I will always think of truck drivers as some of the smartest and talented people in the world.

Drive safe y'all.

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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