Oh, The Nerves!

Topic 21973 | Page 1

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Nighthawk's Comment
member avatar

I'm two weeks from starting at Prime and my nerves are getting to me, lol. I'm super stoked, but you know how it is. What if I suck at this? What if I can't grasp gears or backing? How am I ever going to learn the whole pre-trip in time?? I keep thinking, if 1000s have been able to do this before me, there's no reason I can't. But, nerves!

Jason K.'s Comment
member avatar

Getting antsy happens to most. It's an exciting new journey. As far as questioning what you will or won't be able to grasp in terms of learning. If you have a good school, it won't matter, their job is to make you successful in getting your CDL , so they will help you wherever you might struggle. You have a great attitude about it already, so I believe you'll be fine.

My instructors used to tell me: "You aren't allowed to get mad or frustrated at yourself, that is my job"

So just chill, be a sponge, listen, ask questions when you need to.

Good luck to you.

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.
Jim S.'s Comment
member avatar

Interesting. I'm going through CDL school in Philadelphia right now. Looking at about 3 to 5 weeks til I take the test. I'm finding pre-trip and yard maneuvers to be the easy part. Been on the road twice so far, and taking my road test in Philly traffic is not something I'm looking forward to. In fact, that is seriously stressing me out. But I'll survive. If others can do it, then I can too.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

If you're worried about the pretrip you can start studying now. Daniel B was kind enough to make a pretrip (with pictures) study guide while he was a trainer with Prime.

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.

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.
Nighthawk's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Rob. I've been studying Daniel's guide and watching Apex's video. It's just so many pieces. I'm certain I'll do better once I see them on the truck. I'm just going blind right now.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Misty, tens of millions of people have done this before you. You'll do great if you keep a great attitude and strong work ethic. Driving the truck well enough to pass the CDL exam is not that difficult. The part that gets people is generally two things:

1) The drastic change in lifestyle. When I got into trucking I thought of the entire thing as one grand adventure. I loved it. I wanted to live in the truck and travel the country and turn a ton of miles and find fun things to do on my downtime. I embraced it. Some people don't. The long hours, the erratic schedule, never knowing the people around you or the places you're visiting, being away from home - it overwhelms a lot of people. Those first few months are especially exhausting. I thought they were exhausting in a great way. I love living hard and fast. Others prefer a slower, easier life. They're not well suited for trucking.

Keep a great attitude toward your new lifestyle and have fun while you're working hard at the same time.

2) Preconceived notions about the industry. Tons of people show up on day one thinking that trucking isn't going to be that difficult and they think they know how the schooling is going to be done. I can tell you that trucking is not taught the way you might expect it to be taught because Paid CDL Training Programs are not just schools, they're also a testing ground to see who has what it takes to make it in this industry. You're not guaranteed anything at this point other than an opportunity to make the team and get started in your new career. You're going to see that about 25% of the class is going to be sent home that first week, many because they can't pass the physical, but quite a few people they're not "Prime Material", meaning they're either lazy or have a lousy attitude.

Expect to be surprised by the way some things are done and just go with the flow. Do whatever they ask you to do and just understand that they're going to test you in many different ways. I'll give you a small example.

We had a guy come in here recently saying he quit the school he was attending because the instructor wasn't out on the backing range instructing the students. He was sitting in his truck just watching everyone. The guy figured the school sucked and the instructors didn't care so he quit. In fact he did exactly what the school was hoping he would do. He let them know that he wasn't dedicated to what he was doing. He was only going to do it under his own terms. Only if his expectations and demands were met.

In fact, when you're brand new to backing it doesn't do any good for an instructor to stand there shouting, "Left! Right! Left!" in your ear while you're trying to back up the truck. It's better to let students think for themselves, get the feel for the truck, and learn to understand how it reacts to your steering inputs. Every so often an instructor will step in with some words of advice. But most of the time they're just going to let you practice and learn on your own.

At the same time they're going to be observing the students to see who is really taking this seriously. Some people will focus hard on backing, give it their best when they're in the truck, then discuss what happened with the other students while watching others take their turn so they can learn from others at the same time.

Other students would rather take a smoke break every 10 minutes, text with their buddies back home, and complain about how the company probably sucks and doesn't care about their drivers anyhow.

Instructors are watching for this kind of thing. The company doesn't want to waste their time and money training people who aren't committed to becoming Top Tier Drivers. They're going to thin the herd if they see obvious candidates for a bus trip back home.

So just work hard, focus, have a great attitude, and do what is asked of you to the best of your ability. Someone who is willing and eager to learn will be given far more help and tolerance than someone who isn't giving it their best effort and attitude. So even if you do happen to learn a bit slowly, they'll go out of their way to give you the extra help you need if you show them you're determined to be the best you can be.

Try to enjoy yourself along the way. You'll learn and perform better if you can keep your nerves calm and your mind clear.

smile.gif

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

Nighthawk's Comment
member avatar

This is why I love this site. Thanks, Brett :)

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