Houston Community College CDL School

Topic 22303 | Page 13

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Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Also here's where I got stuck.


G-Town's Comment
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That's what I'd call "A Day". A couple of suggestions on the low-set trailer...

If you have an air-dump switch for your suspension, use it. Let all of the air out of the bags, it takes a few seconds and you will notice the sound of rushing air will diminish. This will lower your fifth wheel by up to a couple of inches, possibly low enough to shimmy the tractor under the trailer. Reintroduce the air as you are moving under the trailer before engaging the kingpin in the locking jaws. Go slow during this, utilizing the G.O.A.L. to make sure you do not skewer the trailer with the kingpin wings. Might have saved you a few cranks. Even the lowest gear available on the landing gear, cranking a loaded trailer up is a workout I'd prefer to avoid. You can also ask a jockey driver to get under it, raise it up so you can crank the gear free of the load.

The rest of it, unfortunately is all part of the learning curve...it's a right of passage we have all endured. The only thing lost was time, nothing else. That's a success in itself.

As far as the trailer potentially being overweight? Get your rest and worry about that tomorrow. When I first started I remember getting "wrapped around the driveshaft" worrying about the "what-if of the moment". You'll learn to roll with the punches, and not worry about what could happen, cause many times it doesn't. So...what-if you are overweight and cannot scale "legal"? You return to the shipper and ask them to lighten the load. Don't run if overweight.

Good luck...and for the record, I think you are doing just fine.


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.

G-Town's Comment
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Correction to this: "kingpin wings", should be "5th wheel wings". Sorry...

Junkyard Dog's Comment
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I had the same situation my first hookup solo with the trailer being too low. I dropped my airbags but the lot was muddy and slick and I couldn't get under it to hook up. My trainer told me to get rough with it. Gtown later gave me the advice of hitting the interlock to increase the torque. I used to be a football player decades ago and want to think I still have it LOL but there are times cranking the landing gear I wonder what happened to that strong guy? Every trailer is different. I've had the same trailer for three loads now never had any problems sliding the tandems but after my load yesterday I spent a good half-hour trying to slide them. The pins would only retract on one side. I sprayed them with lithium grease and even used a fire extinguisher to try to push them in. Finally I said to hell with it drove to my truck stop and decided to try it again before I went on the scale. The pins retracted immediately. Was able to slide the tandems and scale the load. They didn't tell us and CDL school this had to be this hard LOL


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.


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 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".

Army 's Comment
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Are you now solo? Sorry if I missed that in earlier posts. Last time I remember you were out with a trainer and another driver I thought?

Hope tomorrow goes a little smoother.

Safe travels

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
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Oh yes, I'm alone; oh yes I messed up today.

So I left Houston, went to scale on 59, got good weights and headed towards my destination.

Once there, I was a bit confused but the people helped me and I pulled through to drop. But one trailer was crooked and I was as well. Another driver told me some good words and it was fine. But when I left the trailer, it started twisting even more towards another one! There were only inches between it.

I got a stern talking to from someone at the plant who told me what to do, how to do it better etc.

Then I left to go pick up a relay in Shreveport. Oh hey, I missed the entrance. Oh hey, I pressed reroute. Oh hey, I didn't listen to my common sense and went through a neighbourhood. Oh hey, that stop sign went down.

The police I met were very very nice and understanding in this yard. They helped me back it in, and there was no damage to trailer and little to the pole. I used my second run of "good-luck" meeting nice, understanding officers.

I don't know if I'm cut out for this. I knew it was hard, but it's damn hard. I don't have faith in my backing abilities to go to truck stops without easy pull throughs. I didn't eat yesterday, and there was an Arby's where I scaled but I just left. I knew where to eat because this is the same route my trainer had gone through.

I know I can't avoid backings all the time. It just is what it is.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Hang in there its all part of the learning process. Tomorrow is a new day, dont dwell on whats happened other days. Use your experiences to ensure you dont repeat the same mistakes. If your backing is that big of an issue try to stop at a truck stop in the middle of the day to get practice, or just shut down earlier (if your load allows it) so you have plenty of open space on both sides of you. Only way it'll improve is by repetition.

Army 's Comment
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Keep at it, and stay positive, you will get it. I am sure what you are learning today will only help you out tomorrow.

Junkyard Dog's Comment
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I've only been doing this a few weeks solo. Everything you're feeling I have the same doubts. Don't you wish we could just drive the interstate? LOL. You will get better I'm getting better everyday. Just pay attention to your setup when you go to back and pay attention which direction your trailer goes as you turn. If you don't like it pull ahead and adjust. Do not pay attention to those impatient people. It's obvious we are new to this and the majority of drivers and shipping receiving people have seen this before. You've come to far. One thing I do during my 30 minute break. I take my book of the truck stops and parking areas and try to plan how far I'm going to travel in my available drive time. You can get these books at any truck stop. I literally make a list of up to 10 places I can park for the night, I started doing this after my Dallas Fiasco.. With the exit number and if this is a big truck stop or just a small one it will tell you in the book roughly how many spots are available. It is taking a lot of stress off me by doing this. The bigger the truck stop the better choices of food. But I'm still at the point I will eat granola bars as long as I'm able to park safely. God bless you girl


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


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Goner's Comment
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At some point it’ll click. You have to constantly monitor your mirrors when turning. I almost skewered my trailer turning to do a drop that ‘53 trailer has no business being in.

First I tried to turn into the block but stopped just in time to keep from taking out the stop sign. Backed out into oncoming traffic. Pulled into the other oncoming traffic. Backed into the block avoiding construction & a tree on my left, only to take out the tension wire of a power line. Just barely avoided causing a blackout on the circuit.

The “cold storage facility” looked like a one car garage. The receiver had to pull the pallets to the edge of the trailer to unload his 3-4 pallets. That was a huge wake up call.

There’s going to be plenty of challenges. It’s how you grind it out that’ll determine whether or not this is for you. It’s great to learn from other people’s mistakes, no doubt about it, but sometimes we just need to get burned in order for the lesson to be ingrained in our psyche!

Don’t give up. Dig deep. Grind it out. And savor the sweet spots. Give yourself credit for making it this far.

And lastly, SLOW DOWN! You not eating is because you feel overwhelmed & you have no time. Not the case. In trucking, you’re gonna find that hurry up & wait is alive & well. I stopped at TA to replace my reefer battery. 1.5 hrs he told me. I rolled out over 6 hrs later.

I feel the same anxiety from time to time. Dispatch slows me down & tells me, it’s ok, what’s your new ETA. That’s it. Plain & simple.

Good luck. Stay safe. Watch your mirrors. GOAL.


A refrigerated trailer.

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