Misadventures Of A Trainee

Topic 22260 | Page 1

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Villain's Comment
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I decided to write this diary for 2 reasons: (1) For my fellow rookies who may be struggling through training /the job/lifestyle and are having 2nd thoughts. Maybe after reading my diary, you realize that you're not alone and you CAN do this. Maybe you just think Holy $@% at least I'm not that guy! Whatever works. (2) For me. My situation is very challenging and disappointing. I need an outlet to vent . Lucky you!

After reading this you may wonder why the hell don't you just find another company/situation? The practical reason is that I went to CDL School in 2005. No one bothered to tell me that with a felony the odds of getting hired were long. I applied to about 80 companies. Companies that would hire me without experience wouldn't consider the felony. Companies that would consider hiring me with a felony wouldn't consider me without experience. I was on both short ends. This has been the only opportunity. The primary reason for not quitting: because quitting just ain't an option.

Today I am on the 6th day of "training" some highlights and some thoughts: Day 0: I get picked up by my trainer. His hometown is about 2 hours away. I'll spend the night in the truck and tomorrow it's open roads under an open sky! We get to the yard where the truck is parked. Shows me the A/C controls. We have A/C! After he leaves I sit in the driver's seat thinking about the adventures that lie ahead. I plan on taking my home time all over the country. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Day1: My trainer tells me that he is terrible at backing but really knows how to massage the ELOG. Great the 1 thing I need emphasis on the other useless. Left the shipper a few blocks back. He's fiddling with his phone, again. Approaching red light, 1 car ahead. I say "car, Car, CAR!" Hard brake, truck's front is about 2 feet away from the car in front.

Day 2: Read a post from a trucker about America the Beautiful. I'm starting to get a glimpse of what he meant. Now it's 2am, light rain, wet road, my trainer is a 'Hammer Down' kind of guy. I'm in the passenger seat. I can't decide if I should feel exhilarated or if I need a diaper. There's the boundary line, the shoulder looks as wide as a postage stamp, the guard rail, & then like a 200ft drop off. The problem is that on those long sweeping curves to the left that feel like they'll never end the drop off is right in front of me! So it's 4 lanes the highway forks in 2. Next thing I know my trainer has decided that he's heading the wrong way. A yoke on the steering wheel to the left and a hard brake. We wind up 30 ft away from where the guard rails come to a point. I look in the mirror & think huh, I've never seen that much of the trailer in the mirror before. So it wasn't a complete 90° jacknife but if the trailer had a logo I could've read it! Let's call it a butterknife.

Day 3: I'm driving! Takes me about 30 minutes to release the death grip I have on the steering wheel. But now I'm grooving. Running a clean line, passing, I'm the rock around which all these lunatic 4-wheelers flow. Car right up on my cab, little guy in the back seat waving at me. I give him 2 toots on the air horn and his smile is as wide as the ocean. I ask my trainer when I'll get the opportunity to back. He's says we don't have time to be messing around.

Day4: My trainer has to be the most careless driver I've ever met. Fuel stop, get something to eat, bring it back to the truck, finish lunch and we're ready to roll. Now you would think that before putting the vehicle in motion would be the right time to set up your playlist. pfft rookies! We're approaching the exit, head down buried in the phone we start drifting. I've got my lines down pat. car, Car, CAR! Hard brake. The car has 4 passengers. My trainer's performance earns us a score of 3 out 4 middle fingers. Up to this point training/teaching has been virtually non existent. I initiate conversations trying to get information, but if it's not about politics, he shows no interest.

Day 5: Well it all almost came to an end today. I'm driving, pull in to a rest area, my trainer has to go, says he'll be driving when he gets back . Come around the back and he tells me to park in 1 of the bus only spots. There's a security guard parked not 50ft away and I can see how this is gonna go down. Sure enough before I set the brakes here he comes, he and my trainer cross paths & my trainer walks right past the pick up truck with the flashing yellow lights. Security guard walks up & doesn't even bother to speak just gives me a look like WTF. I give him a thimbs up pull around to the fuel island. I get out so I can signal my trainer when he comes out. Ah here he comes. I get in the passenger seat, he gets in says "you got to be some kind of ******* to move after I told you to park, I should kick your ass". 1st is this guy dense? How could he not see the security guard walk up to me? 2nd you can talk about my girlfriend, my dog & it rolls off my back. Threaten me & some kind of switch goes off. Before I know it, I've got the seat belt released and my weight pivoted to deliver a right cross. Then I think about the regret and self anger that I would experience afterwards letting this dude steal something from me that I want very much.

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.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

P & D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 6: My 1st time driving while trainer takes an extended break. Headed to Seattle. I'm finally getting a preview of what it will be like when training is over. The open road is awesome! I drive over the Continental Divide. I'm going to have to think up a name for this, in the Navy you earn the right to say you're a Shellback when you cross the equator. The TT community has been a great resource. Every question I've posted I've gotten answers that I could immediately apply. This was the first day that every thing seemed to be going right.... then my trainer wakes up. Shift changed, 4 lanes, we're in 2nd from the right. Vehicle ahead, trainer starts passing on the left. For whatever reason the car decides to match speed about a 1/4 of the way forward from trailer's end. I get it, bonehead or jerk but what happens next is inexcusable; my trainer says "watch this" engages turn signal & immediately executes lane change. The car swerves out of the way. As my trainer is laughing I have a few thoughts: I'm glad the space that the car had to evacuate to was clear. If the traffic density was greater that could of got real ugly. My trainer is a scumbag. The Low Bridge Incident: I'm back in the saddle. My trainer decides that we're going to Walmart. We're in town, looks at GPS tells me to take next left. Truck restriction 7 tons. Come up to bridge sign says 13'5", sure doesn't look it! I stop a tractor length before bridge & start to get out. "What are you doing!" "I'm going to verify the clearance" Look of disgust "Stay here, I'll check" Gets out, comes back "looks good to me" I almost did it. I hate confrontation & things have been going so poorly. I ease forward close enough that there can be no question about clearance. I get out hear "son of a *****!" Yep sure enough. About a 6" scalping of the trailer would happen. I wave him over it looks like he's about to blow a fuse! He looks up & gets a funny look. Few words were spoken between us the rest of the day.

If you've read this far, thank you. But everything that you've read is completely irrelevant. Here's why. I could become disillusioned & let 2nd thoughts start creeping in. But what I make an effort to keep in mind is that this job & lifestyle is not the job & lifestyle that I will have in a couple of weeks. I've got 4 mandates from my employer, that's it. (1) be safe (2) be on time (3) adhere to our policies (4) be on time. The rest? My truck my way. My trainer hates to drive at night. I love to drive at night. No traffic, consistent average MPH & the best thing: when I start my shift everyone else is playing rest stop musical chairs! My truck will practically be my home. It's going to be equipped like it. I'm not gonna quit when the reward is so close. Neither should you.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for NOT following in your trainers footsteps. I'm glad you have the common sense to know that what he's doing is not acceptable. I understand you're in a tough, less than ideal position with your record, and it being a small company however when your done with training I think his behavior needs to be addressed with management. Typically this behavior needs to be addressed immediately but with it being a small company I'm not sure how it would be taken and I'd hate to see this chance you have taken away if it's the "good ol boy" culture. Hang in there.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
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Dude, your trainer is dangerous.

You are already a better driver than him...

PackRat's Comment
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OMG! This is scary to read! Seriously, I hope you make it through training.good-luck.gif

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

How's training going?

Schmidtrock's Comment
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It sounds to me like your 'trainer' is the villain! Hang in there bud and reach for the gold.

shocked.png

Splitter's Comment
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Excellent read Villain. Very well written & insightful. Please keep at it & let destiny open many new doors in your immediate future. God bless, good luck & continue to be safer than your trainer. good-luck.gif

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow! Can't believe I didn't read this before now. Awesome points made and an awesome attitude! And maybe I didn't read it until now because now was the time I need it most. As G-Town and some others will attest to, I'm always thinking farther ahead than I need to. And as of late I've begun to worry about the type and quality of trainer i might get. I've got someone in mind, but it will really be up to him if he wants to do that. Otherwise, it will be the luck of the draw for me. But right now, I'm thinking, if I draw bad, it can't possibly be as bad as your trainer - and if I keep the right attitude, I'll most likely survive the ordeal.

Thanks a lot for posting these experiences - even if I was a little late getting here to read 'em.

Safe travels, brother.

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