DCS School Of Driving

Topic 21907 | Page 1

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Amish country's Comment
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Hello everyone. I start school next week, the 19th of February, at DCS in York, PA and thought I would share my experiences along the way. It is a 5 week, 200 hour monday- friday course that will focus more on backroad and city driving. They also have docks to practice bumping and backing to which I don't think I have seen anywhere else having. A big plus for me is that they have a in-house payment plan. If you qualify it is 1,500 down and starting about 3 weeks after graduation the payments start at 250 a month for 14 months.

I am 28 with a wife and young daughter looking for a career change. I was a manager for a sporting goods retail company for a little over 11 years and with the issues in the retail world lately they downsized and I found myself without any advancement opportunity. I enjoy driving and used to ride with my step father when he drove flat bed many years ago. With the changes the timing worked out perfectly to pursue this career that I had looked into years ago.

I already have a conditional offer with Schneider and plan to take a regional job with them to get my experience and not lose out on to much family time by being home weekly. It is already going to be hard enough being away when I was home every night before but this will be a temporary setback to a much bigger picture. The opportunity and investment in my CDL will guarantee work as long as I keep my records clean.

I looks like week 1 is preparing for permit tests and all endorsements. We will also get in the trucks a bit as well. I will try to update this every week to give some insight into a private CDL school.

Thanks for reading

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.

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.

Nighthawk's Comment
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I looks like week 1 is preparing for permit tests and all endorsements. We will also get in the trucks a bit as well. I will try to update this every week to give some insight into a private CDL school.

Hey there! Congrats on getting started on a new career! Have you checked out the High Road CDL Training Program? It's super helpful and jam-packed with info. Brett did a GREAT job on it. Good luck and keep us posted!

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.
Amish country's Comment
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The high road is a tremendous program. I have worked through about 3/4 of it over the last few months and have already learned more than i ever thought I would. That and the other posts on here have been invaluable tools to getting started.

Amish country's Comment
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Man, what a week. Don't think I've read/studied that much in a LONG time. We went through the drivers manual section by section highlighting important sentences and then reading them out loud. Followed by a test the following day and going over the answers to each question. A very dry week or reading but very informative and it stuck well. We went today to the DMV and took the general knowledge, air brake and combination tests. Also, all of the endorsements (doubles/triples, tanker, hazmat , passenger).

Glad to say that I passed them all the first time around!

We have also been out to cover pretrip and coupling/uncoupling in the yard and each had a go at straight backing. The yard truck is an auto to let you focus on backing. We learn to straight back 300 feet here as well.

Now that I officially have a permit we will start going out Monday and working on clutch and shifting in the yard.

4 more weeks to go...

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Nighthawk's Comment
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Glad to say that I passed them all the first time around!

NICE!! dancing.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-dog.gif

Amish country's Comment
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Last 2 days we split up and worked on offset backs and learning to shift a 10 speed.

Offset backs get a little interesting when your points disappear for a little bit. Still need practice on those but was able to do them alright. Straight backing has become second nature and getting the trailer to stay straight feels like nothing anymore.

Now for shifting. We had an hour each to learn and figure out how to go from 2nd-5th and then downshift from 5th-3 smoothly. When everyone says forget about what you know about shifting they arnt kidding. I went in with a clear mind but the other 2 guys in the truck kept trying to shift like a car. Giving gas while releasing the clutch. You wouldnt think the truck will roll itself in 4th with no gas without stalling, those diesles are no joke! Not gunna lie, back is a little sore sitting here from the bouncing. I was getting so frustrated with every little thing I did wrong but once you get it and it clicks and you calm down it goes nice and smooth and is a ton of fun. Once everyone is proficient on the 10 speed well be going to the 13s since that's what well use for our road driving.

Also did some classwork on logbooks. Learning which line to mark and how. Recording hours and keeping track of your 70 and daily use. I know it's mostly computer now but was still cool to learn how to do all that.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Amish country's Comment
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Thursday morning we did a bunch of work with map reading and trip planning. Had to plan a route from york, pa to Sacramento, ca in mid February including where we would stop and costs along the way.

In the afternoon the 3 of us that had passed the yard shifting took the truck and trailer out to route 30 to do on ramp/off ramp training between Hallam and wrightsville. The first time getting up on the road with other cars is nerve racking concentrating on shifting, lane, trailer and what everyone else around you is doing. The ramps are setup that exiting at wrightsville is uphill downshifts and Hallam is downhill downshifts. They're fairly long ramps which helps a bit. I was the last to go and must've done alright because he had me drive back to the school through york traffic at 4 in the afternoon cutting through the "city" to get there. At this point my shifts were a lot better and I think having other stuff to concentrate on with more traffic helped.

Friday was crap day weather wise. The wind kept us from going out driving. We were outside for a little bit covering the process of coupling and uncoupling and were given our logbooks for the class that we have to keep up to date with classroom and yard time (on duty) and road time (driving) just like if we were working.

I'm having a blast so far and learning a ton along the way. Once I get comfortable and more confident on the road I think I'll be in good shape. Well be out all this week running routes. Oh we also had our first recruiter come in. Lovely lady from sygma, don't think that's the line of work I want to do haha.

So far I would recommend anyone in the area to check this school out. They really go above and beyond for everyone in the class to get you were you need to be. 3 more weeks!

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Amish country's Comment
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Sorry it's been a while since I last posted these last couple weeks have been wicked busy. I'll try to summarize what happened since the last posting.

Since that first time out on the road we did a couple easy runs up on route 234. Took a ride up through york springs and around that area to get aquainted with hills and sharp turns that drop 20 mph or more from what the speed limit was and had to deal with the little bit of snow and ice from the day before. Towards the end we took a nice country ride through the southern part of lancaster county and back over to york. Also had a night drive up 234 to 15 to 581 and down 81. Pulled over and switched drivers at a truck stop and they drove The same route back.

The hardest drive we had was our distance drive. The time in the truck wasn't bad, it was around 220 miles total and 7 hours but it was the first time driving the 10 speed. Trying to learn a slightly different shift pattern and how the truck is with steering and clutch made it a tough ride. (The truck also liked to shift at 16 instead of 15 like the 13 speed we learned on so it wasn't very smooth shifting) the route took us all over and stopped at a Petro in carlile for lunch.

When we weren't on the road we were backing in yard. Parallels, jack knife and alley docks in a single axle day cab. About a week before testing we started getting used to the normal double axle sleeper. The day before state testing we practiced short box parallels and the alley dock in the state boxes but it was a snow storm the whole time.

In between everything we did our bus test for our passenger endorsements and road test for cdl b. We only had about a day if that on the bus but everyone passed it so I guess you don't really need much time if you know how to pretrip a tractor.

This past week was our state tests on thursday and friday which are done at the school by a third person that only does testing. It was nice being on familiar ground but nerves were still high because after all, IT'S A PRETTY BIG TEST!

Proud to say that I PASSED it the first go around with maybe 4 points on my backing because of 1 minor space mistake that got me a little wedged on the sight side parallel. 1 other of the 5 of us passed the first time as well. Other 3 failed on a missed shift (1 of them was a fluke scenario where the overdrive hit flipped accidently and by the time he realized what happened he had to stop and reset)

Friday we had our "graduation" as well and got our diplomas and course grading. If I can figure out how to post a picture I'll try to put the scoring up.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Amish country's Comment
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PackRat's Comment
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Congratulations! Great job!dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

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