Totally Amazed By Some Of The Newbie's...

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Junkyard Dog's Comment
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Maybe I'm just old school... But some of the threads on here are absolutely shocking to me. Don't mean to attack anyone personally, but I find it amazing the bravado, expectations and gall some on here have with respect for their new chosen career.

I've dealt with setbacks, disappointments and several career changes. Yet never have I gone into a new challenge thinking anything was going to be handed to me.

Each new chapter, new challenge, I try to find someone I work with to use as a mentor. Try to pick his brain and learn everything I can. When I'm done with CDL School I pray I find a trainer that is a good man or woman to learn from. I've read some of the stories on here. I get it...some that think they got stuck with the biggest prick in the world, realized later how much they learned...some just have different ways of doing things.

Got my CDP today along with the air brakes, combination and tanker endorsements...the CDL materials and practice tests on here, on an app I downloaded and other sites that offered practice tests made things easy to understand and absorb....I wanted to do Hazmat also, but was told I have to wait for my CDL...lady asked, "You really want to take all these today?"

Told her I been studying and ready... advice for those taking the tests....pay attention to HOW the questions are worded. Which is NOT TRUE...were the only questions I missed....wanted to kick myself in the butt when I realized my mistakes.

Will start school in 10 days...probably won't do the diary thing....I have a GF and daughters to share with. But wanted to thank all of you on here for your stories, trials, failures and successes. Great site....thanks again!!!

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.

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

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Junkyard Dog!

probably won't do the diary thing....I have a GF and daughters to share with. But wanted to thank all of you on here for your stories, trials, failures and successes.

The diaries aren't intended for sharing with your family. The diaries are to help incoming student drivers know what to expect when it's their turn to get started in training.

I find it amazing the bravado, expectations and gall some on here have with respect for their new chosen career.

We all do. Old School wrote an article called "https://www.truckingtruth.com/trucking_blogs/Article-3847/prudence-is-lacking-in-some-rookie-truck-drivers">Prudence Seems To Be Lacking In Some Rookie Truck Drivers for that very reason. A lot of people don't take trucking as seriously as they should.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Welcome to the TT community, JYD!

Dead Money's Comment
member avatar

Each new chapter, new challenge, I try to find someone I work with to use as a mentor. Try to pick his brain and learn everything I can. When I'm done with CDL School I pray I find a trainer that is a good man or woman to learn from. I've read some of the stories on here. I get it...some that think they got stuck with the biggest prick in the world, realized later how much they learned...some just have different ways of doing things.

In my case the trainer was fine as a person, just was lacking communication skills required to be a teacher.

Also it appears the company sets up the teachers incentives in a way that conflicts with the students interests.

In my case, the trainer had me driving the interstates until I was just about out of drive time, so I had very little time to learn backing.

I was out on the training truck 29 days, and completed 13000 clean miles.

The instructor however was the one to receive a speeding ticket.

Since he picked up a new student, there has been some kind of accident in a Walmart parking lot, and the trainer is now at the hospital due to being hit in the eye by the landing gear crank.

So, yeah he’s teaching, by negative example.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
In my case, the trainer had me driving the interstates until I was just about out of drive time, so I had very little time to learn backing

This is a common misconception that new drivers have. Rarely will a trainer give students much in the way of backing practice. First of all, you've already had a ton of practice and training in the first phase of your training to get your CDL. The rest of your backing skills you will develop once you go solo, and that takes several months to a year to become even halfway decent.

The purpose of training on the road is to teach you the basics of navigation, communication with your company, payroll, fueling, and other procedures of that nature. So giving you a lot of seat time cruising the open Interstates is the best thing a trainer can do for you. They're getting you experience in a lower stress environment, which is what you need at that point.

So, yeah he’s teaching, by negative example.

I think that's an unfair statement. Your trainer taught you quite a bit, I'm sure, and he/she deserves a hell of a lot more credit that some terse statement like that. They risked their lives, give up their personal space, and take on a huge pile of responsibilities helping you get your career underway and for all of that you show no appreciation whatsoever?

Trainers deserve a lot of respect and appreciation. Heck, you didn't even know what you were supposed to be learning out there, let alone how to drive a rig in the first place.

the trainer is now at the hospital due to being hit in the eye by the landing gear crank

I've almost been smacked in the face a few times by those things. They'll whip around on you like an airplane propeller, far faster than anyone can react to it.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett, the "tons" of backing before your CDL depends on the company. The testing phase really only prepares you for those boxes, not real life. At Prime backing is part of the TnT phase. We dont have yard obstacle courses like some of the schools and companies or spend weeks on pads. Yes, we have backing pads, you spend a few hours on, but most is learned OTR with the trainer. A good trainer will have the trainee drive into and bump the docks at most, if not all of the customers. They will set aside time to practice at truck stops in addition to pulling into various rest areas. Rest areas can be complicated believe it or not. Some are still old for shorter trailers and you feel exposed. Some newer ones have very wide spaces with sharp angles for easy pull throughs. Others are so narrow you almost hit the truck on the side of you, while others still have parallel...which one examiner told me is "now obsolete so i dont know why they still test for it". Obviously he hasnt driven through Virginia or Tennessee recently.

We as trainers are supposed to prepare the trainee for driving through heavy traffic areas, commercial areas with lights, nights, days, cities, bad weather, mountains etc. I take training very seriously and am probably driving my trainee nuts now lol. it can be difficult to gauge a students learning process and lets face it...not all truck drivers should be trainers. This is all part of why Primes TnT phase is so long.

Not all will follow a cirriculum or guide line. it requires a teaching ability. I know some lease ops that use the trainees for cheap labor, its true. However, i know a heckuva lot more who are great people and teachers.

so i totally get what he is saying. Howvever, i also know that no matter how.much training one gets, no matter how.much backing you do...the newly solo driver will still feel the stress of going solo and may not feel up to it. In situations like that, you just ask for additional help. I felt the same way as Dead Money, but I took responsibility for my training and asked Prime for additional help...not once but twice. Once before I tested for the CDL and once before I upgraded to solo...after the 30,000 mile team phase. Guess what? Prime gave me backing time with two additional backing instructors in more realistic situtations than a backing pad. I also asked a couple trainer friends to take me to the local truck stop to practice. They were Prime drivers i had only known a few months, yet they were eager to help.

So once again, personal responsibility comes into play.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

...I'll add to Rainy's point:

Swift requires 40 documented backing maneuvers during the 200 hours of Mentoring (road training). These are not classroom backs in the controlled environment, real-world. 40 may sound like a lot...but honestly it's a fraction of the amount of practice needed to become proficient.

I don't have the magic number, because everyone is different; but it took me the better part of 6 months total; half OTR , half on Walmart Dedicated before I became really comfortable setting-up & backing in all levels of light, weather, and dock configurations. That duration equated to about 450 total attempts.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
That duration equated to about 450 total attempts.

That's why most trainers don't spend a lot of time letting the student practice. Even with a stringent minimum of 40 backs during training that's not 10% of what it's going to take to even become decent at it. It's probably 3% of the number it's going to take to become really darn good.

And by the time you've had enough practice to pass the CDL exam, what is left to teach? It's not like it's chess where there are dozens of pieces available and thousands of strategies and all sorts of complexities. 95% of the time you're doing a 90 degree back. What are you going to tell them? You're turning too soon or you're turning too late. You're oversteering or understeering. That's all there is to it. With enough practice they'll get it. But I'm just not sure what a trainer can actually teach you to do at that point. You're guiding the trailer into a hole. There's nothing more to know. You simply improve by practicing.

It reminds me of learning how to walk on a slackline. There's nothing to teach, really. You try to stay relaxed, clear your mind, and just learn to balance on the rope. It takes tons and tons of repetition. But it wouldn't have mattered if the famous Karl Wallenda was there with me. What's he going to say? "Don't fall off and keep trying until you get it." It's not about gaining new knowledge. It's about practicing. I wouldn't have learned 5 minutes faster with the ten best slackliners in the world helping me. You just keep on practicing until you finally figure it out.

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.
Dead Money's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

In my case, the trainer had me driving the interstates until I was just about out of drive time, so I had very little time to learn backing

double-quotes-end.png

This is a common misconception that new drivers have. Rarely will a trainer give students much in the way of backing practice. First of all, you've already had a ton of practice and training in the first phase of your training to get your CDL.

The purpose of training on the road is to teach you the basics of navigation, communication with your company, payroll, fueling, and other procedures of that nature. So giving you a lot of seat time cruising the open Interstates is the best thing a trainer can do for you. They're getting you experience in a lower stress environment, which is what you need at that point.

double-quotes-start.png

So, yeah he’s teaching, by negative example.

I think that's an unfair statement. Your trainer taught you quite a bit, I'm sure, and he/she deserves a hell of a lot more credit that some terse statement like that. They risked their lives, give up their personal space, and take on a huge pile of responsibilities helping you get your career underway and for all of that you show no appreciation whatsoever?

First off, you have no idea if I had a ton of backing or not. I however lived the event and know that before my cdl test I was given a total of 3 attempts to execute the alley doc. With the first attempt the teacher was standing by the window telling us which way to turn the wheel etc. what wasn’t said was why we were turning that direction at that moment. Nothing said about what to look for other than the first movement was to continue until the tandems would stop rolling. Anytime someone complained the TEACHER would say something like, hey I got my CDL, it’s not up to me to make sure you get yours. While on the surface it is true, he is our resource to be able to pass the test. Consider out of the 9 people to take the test on the day I did, only 2 passed, so the teaching wasnt getting the job done.

So, if teaching isn’t going to get us backing time, and training time isn’t going to get backing time, we get to learn backing while making the guy on the doc wait. One guy said if he were to wait any more, he would reschedule our 6am appointment to 4pm.

I considered taking some time of my home time between phase 1, and phase 2 to get more time on the backing range. But time is limited, between testing, and teaching the new guys what little we got, there was no opportunity to get more practice.

So yes, I’m learning by trial and error where mistakes are potentially costly.

The one thing that saves me, is I won’t move the truck unless I know doing so won’t hit anything.

I’ve seen video that breaks down the backing process, I just don’t get a chance to try it out is an empty area.

The amazing thing is we are pretty much corralled into being a trainer after 6 months.

So if I’m going to be the solution rather than part of the problem, I’m going to have to hunt down what I’m supposed to know, and how best to teach that.

I doubt I’m going to get that info by mainly turning miles.

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Old School's Comment
member avatar
First off, you have no idea if I had a ton of backing or not.

Actually we do know how much you've had. You had enough to pass the driving test and get your CDL. You don't need to get an attitude with us in here - we've all been through the same things you have. We are trying to help you.

What you need help with is realizing that you had some false expectations. That's okay, we all did. Backing is one of the things I mentioned in this article about The Toughest Obstacles Rookie Drivers Face. We get it! You can really only teach someone the principles of how to back, and you apparently got that well enough to get your CDL , so somebody did you right. Beyond that you will be responsible for refining your skills, and that may take you a year or two. It's that way for all of us. Skilled backing takes a lot of practice. Nobody learns to be proficient at it from their trainer.

Hang in there and do just like you are already doing - making sure you don't hit anything. You can pull in a truck stop during the middle of the day and spend fifteen minutes practicing far away from any other trucks. I did that for my whole first year. Take your own initiative and teach yourself how to be proficient in reverse. You'll learn it a lot better that way.

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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