CFI School Diary

Topic 22104 | Page 2

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Don's Comment
member avatar

Chuck, we haven't heard anything for a couple of weeks. Did you get your CDL?

Well we are in our second week of school and we are doing more driving each day along with practicing parking maneuvers as well. Each day the drives do get easier each time you do them and they are on different routes each time. Each person in the truck does the same route that the person before does so that each person gets to do that route and know what each route entails. I am definitely feeling more confident in each of my drives, the downshifting is definitely the most difficult since you have to be able to time the shifting to each low gear and the RPM of the vehicle. It does get easier but it does make one want to pull their hair out when it is hard to do.....LOL. I can honestly say that it does get easier with time and the more you do it. The instructor is very helpful and patient. I must say that the training here at Crowder is excellent and if you do what the instructors tell you and practice it you will learn it. I am very happy with my decision to come to CFI and encourage anyone that is looking for a company that wants you to do well and be treated fairly then CFI is the one you want. I encourage everyone to do their research and make the best decision for themselves and their family since that is the ultimate goal. CFI is investing in the company and that to me is a very good thing when it comes to working for a company that is going to be helping me to also be able to provide for myself and my family. Please feel free to ask any other questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them.

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.
Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

I am still at school. I had some issues with the 90 degree alley dock maneuver. I am retesting on Tuesday and hopefully everything goes as planned and I can finish school and go on to CFI. It has been a rough past week for me despite doing well in the practice range. I have been very busy with things this past week so I have not been on here.

Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

So I FINALLY passed the maneuvers on the the CDL test but I failed the drive today and even though I feel that I did fine and I was not at any time unsafe or took my turns incorrectly but grinded a few gears and supposedly left my foot on the clutch a couple of times which I think is total HOGWASH!!! I maintained the integrity of the truck and did not at any time drive unsafely but yet still failed!!! I missed the CDL by one lousy stupid point and before anyone asks how many practice drives I had let me tell you this. I have had lots of them but I am apparently required to be a professional driver already after only 3 whole weeks of actual driving behind the wheel. I felt that I did well enough to pass the test and get on with my training at my company since that is when a lot of the skills come into play and the learning really begins. To say that I am disappointed would be a severe understatement and fed up with this whole process and how it seems that they expect you to be perfect when it comes to driving a truck. Not to mention that I am going to be getting into an Automatic when I am done so who gives a rats behind whether I can drive a standard or not, I can tell you that I couldn't care less and before you tell me that I will need it save your breath. I am telling you this because I am ****ed off and want this to be over. The critiquing of every little detail is monotonous and way over done in my honest opinion. We are all human and grinding a gear happens and did not at any time make this drive unsafe, I even have confirmation from my instructor that the examiner told him that my drive was excellent except for these stupid things. One point, is all that stood between passing and not passing.

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.

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.

Jmart's Comment
member avatar

So I FINALLY passed the maneuvers on the the CDL test but I failed the drive today and even though I feel that I did fine and I was not at any time unsafe or took my turns incorrectly but grinded a few gears and supposedly left my foot on the clutch a couple of times which I think is total HOGWASH!!! I maintained the integrity of the truck and did not at any time drive unsafely but yet still failed!!! I missed the CDL by one lousy stupid point and before anyone asks how many practice drives I had let me tell you this. I have had lots of them but I am apparently required to be a professional driver already after only 3 whole weeks of actual driving behind the wheel. I felt that I did well enough to pass the test and get on with my training at my company since that is when a lot of the skills come into play and the learning really begins. To say that I am disappointed would be a severe understatement and fed up with this whole process and how it seems that they expect you to be perfect when it comes to driving a truck. Not to mention that I am going to be getting into an Automatic when I am done so who gives a rats behind whether I can drive a standard or not, I can tell you that I couldn't care less and before you tell me that I will need it save your breath. I am telling you this because I am ****ed off and want this to be over. The critiquing of every little detail is monotonous and way over done in my honest opinion. We are all human and grinding a gear happens and did not at any time make this drive unsafe, I even have confirmation from my instructor that the examiner told him that my drive was excellent except for these stupid things. One point, is all that stood between passing and not passing.

Chuck Sorry you've had a rough time. You will get it. Deep breath. Keep focused on the goal. When do you retest? Do you get to do some more practice driving before your next rerest?

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Chuck, I can totally understand you being frustrated by the situation but like Jmart said just take a deep breath and move on. Today is a new day. You'll get there.

Listen, you said something interesting that I want you to think about. Hopefully this will help you settle down a little bit. You said:

[I am] fed up with this whole process...and want this to be over

Listen, I call it "finish line syndrome," when people get focused on getting to a certain point and they won't be happy until they reach that point. Trucking has one of the longest, steepest learning curves you'll find in any career. You're going to be learning for years no matter what stage you're in. I feel that a driver really doesn't reach that Top Tier Driver status until about somewhere between years 3 and 5.

Trucking is about so much more than backing, shifting, and braking. It's about time management, people skills, and learning how to work within the system your company uses. It's about developing relationships, understanding strategies for getting appointments moved ahead, and avoiding traffic and weather delays with good long term planning.

I totally get the frustration and it's cool to come here and vent about it. I have no problem with that. But I'm hoping from here you'll be able to relax, stay focused, and take this one day at a time. Patience is critical in trucking, not only for safety, but for your own sanity. Your patience is going to be tested every single day of your life out there.

Also keep in mind that being frustrated with anything is a huge distraction, and being distracted behind the wheel of a rig means your awareness and your skills will be diminished. To be quite honest, people die in big wrecks they would have avoided if they weren't so distracted by a recent fight with their wife or their dispatcher or some 4-wheeler that's aggravating them. That's the truth.

So it's totally cool that you blew off some steam and I'm sure you'll pass next time. Remember, the people giving the tests wouldn't have a job if they passed every student. This time it was your number that was called. Don't let it bother you. Today is a new day.

You're gonna find out soon that the finish line you're so eager to cross isn't a finish line at all. This is only the very first stage of a process that is going to last for years. Keep something in mind - you're learning to drive a big rig. I mean, how cool is that, right??? Enjoy it!!! Have fun along the way. Take your training and driving seriously, but at the same time count your blessings.

Truckers for some reason tend to become awfully negative people. They're famous complainers. Learn to keep that from happening to you. Start now and learn to enjoy the process, have patience, and go with the flow. Trucking is about handling frustrations with grace and ease as much as it is anything else. If you want to stay in this game for many years you have to learn to stay positive and practice patience.

You'll pass this test soon enough and this whole thing will be nothing but a blip on the radar. Don't let it bother you from here forward.

Best of luck!

Dispatcher:

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Chuck you wrote this on one of your first diary posts:

Be patient with yourself it will come along even though at times it does not feel like you will.

This advice is fantastic. Applies to every aspect of the training process and continues throughout your life as a Trucker. Patience is one of the top attributes required to be a successful Trucker. Highly applicable for you to consider as you are learn and have setbacks like you just described. The setbacks have only just begun.

One additional comment:

You have invested 3 weeks of your time at school learning the bare bones required to pass the CDL tests. Very few people pass on the first try.

It's not a huge deal. You'll pass...keep your foot away from the clutch, easy. Relax on the shifting, don't rush them. Frequent grinding (or missing a fear as a result) is NOT having full control of your truck and that is one of the primary things they look for. The instructor sitting in the passenger chair doesn't want to fail you.

Up to this post you have been very positive, upbeat. I know you may not believe me but you have yet to experience difficult situations and the myriad of challenges presented in this job. What you are experiencing now is the easier part.

Roll with the punches...it's only the beginning.

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.
Chuck 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks to Jmart, Brett and Gtown. I know that I will get this it is just frustrating that I failed by only one point. I guess not only that but I let myself get to that point. I know I can do this but when that kind of stuff happens it is a real downer to the confidence level. I know and understand that there will be all kinds of situations that I will encounter and need to be able to handle them with calm and patience. I just feel that when testing to be able to get the CDL is so much pressure simply because it is required to even move on to the other things that will happen when out there on the road. I just needed to VENT some steam and frustration to help me calm down and try to relax a little bit so I am not holding on to it. It did help me some and I am happy that I have this forum to do that knowing that others will also understand how I feel. I will be able to retest maybe tomorrow (Wednesday) or maybe Thursday. It depends on the schedule since there are other students on the list as well that will finish this week also. I did another practice drive today and the instructor that went with me this time said I did well, just critiqued a few things that I messed up on but otherwise a good drive and did all my turns and stops safely. I will most likely not leave here until this Friday now since my classmates that I was with here at school are already at CFI for their orientation. I am bummed that I will have to wait a little longer but relieved to some degree that I only have the drive left to do and then I can relax for a little bit until I begin with my trainer. It did not go according to plan but I am still in the game so I have just taken it into overtime is all. Time to knock this drive out of the park and get started on the rest of my career.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott (CFI Driver and's Comment
member avatar

You failed by one point. If you pass by one point you get the same CDL as the rest of us. Imagine that. Good luck. Looking forward to the good news.

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.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Venting is fine. Better not to let it stay inside until you have a meltdown behind the wheel, piloting 80,000 lbs.

About you getting into an auto, versus a manual, here's something you may not have thought about: suppose that auto transmission goes into the shop for ten days at a dealership. Company gives you two options- sit there on it, or we have a loaner truck you can use. BTW, it's a ten speed manual. Which would you choose? Something big picture to mull over.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Venting is fine. Better not to let it stay inside until you have a meltdown behind the wheel, piloting 80,000 lbs.

About you getting into an auto, versus a manual, here's something you may not have thought about: suppose that auto transmission goes into the shop for ten days at a dealership. Company gives you two options- sit there on it, or we have a loaner truck you can use. BTW, it's a ten speed manual. Which would you choose? Something big picture to mull over.

Great Point PackRat

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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