Orientation & Training With Eastern Freightways

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Mike B.'s Comment
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I'm currently on the start of my 3rd week here at Eastern Freightways and just found this forum. I will try to break the first 2 weeks up into 2-3 different posts. Week 1 was 1 day shorter due to Easter Sunday. They didn't want anyone having to drive to the hotel on Easter.

Summary of week-1

Coming from the middle of nowhere New Hampshire I rolled into Montgomery, NY on April 2nd about 8pm. Checked into the Super 8 motel and thoroughly checked out my room. Now i'm not going to say this is a 5 or even a 4 star hotel but it will work. I made sure the fridge and microwave worked and headed out to buy some food for the week. There's a stop n shop or shop right about a mile down the road. Picked up some food and a few things I forgot. (Paper towels, plates, forks, spoons etc.) The bed was fairly comfortable. I do have the room to myself (Sweet!!) and have been told that there are 6 of us here for orientation. There is a small plaza down the road which has a Verizon store, dollar store, rite-aid, and a few other restaurants. There is also a Mc D's, Burger King, Subway, a couple of Deli’s and a few convenience stores as well as a T/A truck stop in the area. The Hotel has a continental breakfast, you know the usual Sausage, eggs, bread, cereal type of stuff... Not bad I grabbed it about 6:30am so it was still pretty fresh... We have to meet our trainer in the lobby at 8am and then follow him down the road about 1/2 mile to the training terminal at NEMF.

So 8am rolled around and we met our instructor in the lobby of the hotel. There were supposed to be 6 of us but 2 drivers didn’t show up So class of 4 it is. We spent about an hour in the lobby listening to the instructor go over several things about Eastern Freightways and what to expect. Old school, sarcastic, funny, serious, NO BS are just a few ways to describe Him. (Don)

We then followed Don down to the NEMF terminal where our training will be for the next few weeks. The usual orientation type stuff. A video from the CEO & 3 folders STACKED with paperwork. We worked on this until lunch time (12-1pm) I came back to my room to make a little lunch.

Went back at 1pm and finished off the monumental stack of paperwork for the first day.. We then watched the CSA Video that I just saw at school about 3 weeks ago and took the quiz afterwards. It’s a small class but everyone is really down to earth and pretty cool…

Day #2 of orientation at Eastern Freight Ways

Headed out around 7:45 to the terminal. The day started with some conversation and then into the Hours of service videos and paper logs. This lasted till noon. Back to the room for some lunch and back to the terminal by 1pm. Possible road tests today or tomorrow.

Got back to the terminal and was told it is road test time. Older 2005 Volvo sleeper with the back taken out and fitted with 3 seats and the flatbed. The other 3 took turns driving through town and the interstate. They were all a little rusty as it’s been a few months since they drove a stick. I nailed it but it helps that I just finished school last week. The road test took the rest of the afternoon. Don gave us a 12-page questionnaire for homework and we came back to the hotel around 5pm. We decided to go to the OCC Café in Newburg for dinner. Definitely recommend it for anyone in the area. Day #3 of orientation at Eastern Freight Ways

At the terminal 8am. (Hint- Bring Don a banana and a strawberry Banana yogurt from the hotel..) We had a small roundtable discussion pertaining to the govt. and how politics and certain bills can affect the trucking industry. After that we reviewed the homework followed by a 10-minute break and then 2 JJ Keller videos Safety inspections and backing. Same videos that I’ve already seen in school.

11:45 we headed for lunch for an hour and will have the General Manager come in around 1pm to give us a spiel. Kevin McGuire is the general manager and he drove up from NJ just to stop in for about 1 1/2hrs to introduce himself to us. He was very upfront with no sugar coating anything, Just the way I like it. Seems like he’s there for the drivers as the past years’ worth of changes has been for the driver. We will see going forward but overall, I have a good feeling.

After that we geared up and headed outside. It was a cold windy day to Pre-trip 2 trucks and trailers. After pre-tripping we each took turns doing some backing maneuvers, so Don could assess our backing skills. It was Definitely a little different than what I used in school which were Day cabs also EMF uses split axel trailers which were a little different as well. It took a little bit but easy enough to adjust to.

After yard it was picture time for our badges then the 4 of us went to I-hop to grab a little dinner. Exit 6 has some good places to eat if you’re in the area.

Back to the hotel and started packing up some stuff as we check out in the morning and head back home after training until Sunday evening. We will come back and start week 2. I like the fact that we get to go home for the weekend during training.

Sounds like some road trips will be happening next week.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

Interstate:

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

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day #4 of orientation at Eastern Freight Ways last day of week 1..

Stopped at the T/A to grab a coffee and water and pretty sure I saw my first lot lizard. She was walking down the parking lot near 1 truck carrying some kind of dish and walked up to a blue truck who was in the bobtail parking lot. She talked with the driver then went around to the passenger side of the truck and didn’t go all the way in for a few minutes but finally made it in and shut the door. I go in, get my stuff and when I came out the shades were drawn.

Today was some more pre-tripping and backing maneuvers. Sight side backing, pretty much the same as Alley docking but getting the trailer pre-set for the angle beforehand. Offset and a little more shifting work. Back to the classroom for some log book training.

Today was travel reimbursement and meal reimbursement day. Eastern Freight Ways reimburses you up to $100 for your personal travel for the week as well as $15 a day for food. Not a bad deal if you budget well considering the hotel has a free breakfast. So, we were able to learn about EFS checks, how they work and how long you have to stand in line at the T/A to cash them. Actually, it wasn’t to bad only about 10-15 minutes.

I filled up and started the normal 4 ½ hour ride home. Unfortunately, today was not normal. Friday with snow showers and 4 wheelers which somehow forgot how to drive in snow. Add the 84W-91N intersection which is a complete mess caused by people not knowing how to be in the right lane early enough. A little over 5 hours and I was home! Unpacked the car and looking forward to the next couple of days sleeping in my own bed and enjoying some home time. Looking forward to next week and learning even more!

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!!!

Back to work, Well training. I Decided to wait until later in the afternoon to head out. Rolled into Montgomery around 8:30pm. Checked in and proceeded to unload my stuff. 3 freaking trips from the car to my room. I’ve really got to learn to start packing lighter. On the way down I was thinking about asking for the same room as I had last week since I cleaned the hell out of it and I knew everything worked. Fortunately, I am in the same room.

Same routine this morning. Coffee, Breakfast etc. Headed to the terminal at 7:50

Week 2 Day 5- We started the day out with Watching the SMITH system video and then reviewing it. From there we went out to pre-trip 3 trucks. As I’ve been learning, change is the only thing guaranteed in this industry.

Time for a road trip. After some organizing etc. we were off to Secaucus, NJ to pick up a truck and then down to the Elizabeth, NJ terminal to pick up 2 more trucks. After pre-tripping those and making sure everything was in order we headed to the Vince Lombardi Truck stop for some late lunch. That stop was pretty big and like the rest of NJ, very littered.

After some Popeyes and Starbucks it was time to hit the road. Rush hour it is. You know, the usual stuff you see at rush hour, Just this time in a truck instead of being one of the crazy ### 4 wheelers who are all jockeying for position any way they can. I guess looking back I was once one of them. Once out of Jersey it was a smooth ride.

Day 6

We got to the terminal at 7:55am, fill out our log book. Started the day with a night driving video followed by a quiz and some discussion. We then geared up and headed outside to Pre-Trip the trucks that we picked up yesterday. The previous class will/may end up with these, so we are getting them prepped and ready for the shop to go through them. Following the pre-trip, we cleaned them out and sorted out the contents. Straps, binders etc.

Ray, Dons boss came up from PA today to meet with us. Again another straight forward, no sugar coating, no BS type of person, just the way I like it. He highlighted the good and the bad of the trucking lifestyle. He emphasized the importance of family and making sure your ducks are all in line so to speak. There’s a lot of responsibility that you are leaving behind 5-6 days a week. He emphasized that communication all around is very important, Driver to safety, driver to dispatch, driver to company, company to driver etc. etc.

A couple of hours later we headed out for lunch. After lunch we moved the used equipment from the trucks and then worked on backing some more. Everyone is getting much better but we all could use a little more practice.

Day 7

Started the day thinking we were going to PA. Got to the Terminal and Nope. Remember what I said in my post on day 5 (Sunday, Sunday) bout the industry? No PA today. We went outside pre-tripped a couple of trucks and spent some more time backing.

Instead of PA we found out we were heading to the Meriden, CT terminal to pick up a few trucks. I started out driving with the trainer’s truck and trailer. Drove for about an hour and then it was Paul’s turn. Got to Meriden and hit up Nardelli’s for lunch. Worth the stop if you come across it 896 E. Main St

Get to the terminal and we’re picking up 2 Freightliners and 2 Volvos. Pre-Trip them and get ready to leave. Nope, wait. 2 trailers as well? Paul and I each hook up to one, Pre-Trip the trailers and head back.

Feeling pretty good with the trailer pull and then we hit Waterbury construction traffic around 4ish. What a mess that is. 4 wheelers cutting in and out and in front of everyone. I just laid back, increased my distance and took my time. After all said and done it really wasn’t that bad.

Back to the terminal, Post-Trip and done. After getting back to the hotel I decided to go check out the little town of Montgomery. Older rustic little town with several shops and a couple of eateries.

** Entertainment Bonus**

So, this guy was standing out front of a room at the hotel about an hour ago. Severely drunk trying to turn the door handle not realizing you need to put the slide card in 1st. I just went outside and he was still trying to do the same thing. On my way back in it looked like he was getting ready to urinate on the door. I called the front office and she was like.... Again? I just put him back in his room a few minutes ago...Why Me? ..HaHa

Gotta love the hotel life!!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 8

Started the day with a thrilling (HaHa) video about fires followed by a quiz and then a Hazmat Video followed by another quiz.

After these we went outside to line up the trucks that we have picked up to get them ready for the fleet washing crew. Some of the previous class were arriving today to pick up their trucks to go Solo.

Time for some more backing. This time in between 2 trailers instead of cones. I had a chance to talk with one of the previous students about his experience with his on the road trainer.

Back from lunch and moved some equipment around, practiced shifting and a little more backing. This afternoon was kind of a blur. Rainy cold weather. I know I’m forgetting something. Anyways, we’ve got to check out in the morning before training. Looking forward to some home time then getting the last week of training done with.

day 9

Just a quick post today.

Checked out of the room this morning and filled up the car. Got to the terminal at 7:50 and filled out our logs. Paper logs are a pain in the______. Gabe the Aflac guy showed up and we went through the couple hour presentation of the benefits they offer. We took turns signing up for what we choose. Aflac has some decent supplemental benefits. Definitely worth taking a look.

Went over Policies and Procedures and some other stuff that I can’t recall. Got out travel and meal checks and our regular check as well. Direct deposit will not take effect for a couple of weeks after you start.

Was a good ride on the way home until I reached W. Hartford. There was an accident at exit 49 which closed 2 of the 3 lanes. It had traffic backed up about 5 miles. I should have just taken the suggested routes. Either Prospect st. or Sisson Ave. I think Asylum was another option. Anyways an hour later I reached 91N. 6 hours later I made it home.

Snow, ice and rain are expected Saturday night and Sunday. Should be a good ride back on Sunday… HaHa

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

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 10- Last week of orientation here in Montgomery

Woke up Sunday to snow, rain, sleet and freezing rain. Decided to head out at 3pm. Once in MA the roads were clear and traffic was light. Got here a little after 7pm. Ended up with the same room again. This time several small things were fixed and everything was cleaned up more than normal..

Today we went more in depth into the policies and procedures followed by lunch. After lunch we watched another JJ Keller Video on load securement. Don went through several scenarios that we will most likely see out there on the road.

After the monsoon rains finally stopped we went out to learn how to throw straps over a tall load. Not as easy as it looks. I can imagine that with some time and practice it will come together.

Went to 5 guys for a burger then Dollar general for some snacks and lunches. Have been watching UFC reruns for the last 2 hours and zoning out. Ready for the week to be over and get out on the road!

Day 11

Last night I Ended up watching an old UFC fight episode 86 from 2008. Griffen VS. Rampage. Really good fight going 5 rounds. Dragging ### today.

So we dove deeper into the SMITH system today. Mitch from recruiting stopped in this morning. Introduced himself to us and went over some recruiting information. I've chatted with him several times over the last couple of weeks so it was good to finally meet him. We finished up with the SMITH system and went to lunch.

Back from lunch and it was time for some Map reading training and trip planning. So for the old school truckers that did their entire trip planning via this method, Much respect. With the combination of CMV-GPS, The Trucker path App, Google Earth and a little map usage the time is cut in half if not more. Followed this up with a couple of sample trips we had to plan.

Still waiting to find out who we will have for road trainers. It would be good to connect with them as soon as possible. Maybe we will find out tomorrow.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 12

Coming to the end of our 3rd week and I believe only there are only a few things left to do here. Pre-trip and then back on the road today to do some more driving. Not picking anything up today but we are getting some more time under our belts. We took turns driving a route consisting of state roads and highway until lunch.

After lunch we went to the yard to work on some tight rights. Kept narrowing the cones until it was at tight as possible. We had some trouble with the power steering. It would randomly stop working then work again. Anyone ever had that happen? Power steering over heating?

Well that kind of put an end to that. Still no word on our road trainers. Hopefully tomorrow..

By the time we got everything picked up and put back it was time to finish off our log books and head out for dinner. We decided on Golden Coral in Middletown! I would not recommend going here. $19 for dinner and a soda and the selection was smaller than others I've been to and the food was not good at all. Just the opinions of the 4 of us HaHa.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 13

Today was mainly a road day. Up, down, over, stop for a 30 min break and got some coffee, up again, over, stop, go. You get the picture. You definitely learn something new every time you drive and you gain a little bit of confidence each time.

We learned who our trainers would be today. It was Good and bad news for me. No trainers were available from our Concord, NH terminal so I was set up with A guy from Springfield, MA. A little more of a drive for me to head out each week but worth it. I'm awaiting his call or text in the next day or so and will find out when we are heading out. I'm hoping to be able to keep the daily postings about the next 3 weeks of on the road training while I'm out there.

Last day here in Montgomery tomorrow so I'm pre-packing to be able to check out in the morning!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 14

The end to 3 long but good weeks of orientation/training at the Montgomery, NY terminal. We had to check out this morning for our last time. Started our day finishing up reviewing one of the informational booklets and then on to the final test... It basically consisted of everything that we had covered over the last 3 weeks.

Don went over several things about the remainder of our training. What to expect, some things to bring and then basically the same for when we get our own trucks.

We received our last paper checks today. The first 2 weeks are paper checks until Direct Deposit goes through and our ESF checks for our travel and food. We are awaiting our trainers to call us and at that point we will know what day and time we are heading out for the week.

All in All the 3 weeks were good and informative. A few things I think could be reworked and adjusted and shorten the process to 2 weeks. Cutting this short to enjoy some hometime with the family before I head out.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 1-2 of OTR (On The Road) Training

My trainer contacted me Saturday. He let me know that we were going to meet in Sturbridge, MA @ 6am Monday morning. I debated getting a hotel due to the 2 3/4 hour ride but decided that it wouldn't be that bad. Pffft. What do I know! Up at 2:30am out the door by 3am. Nice easy drive down unless you want breakfast at 4am. Met up with my Trainer Noel and proceeded to load my 4 days worth of stuff into his truck. I've got to learn to pack lighter. 1 Duffel bag, I computer bag, 1 day bag, Pillow, sleeping bag, boots and all my PPE. It's a little different for a newbie because you don't want to invade someone elses space.

We reviewed a few things and proceeded to pre-trip the truck and trailer. Finished that and went over a few more things like the current BOL and our trip for the day and that he'd drive most of the day loaded but as soon as we were empty it was my turn. Basically evaluating how I did driving. Baltimore rush hour it is! Headed out for Western Maryland. I84 to I81. Hills and curves and more hills! Got to the shipper at 3pm and the guard informed us that receiving closed at 2:30pm. Call dispatch and routed the load to Baltimore. Drop that load and pick up an empty and headed to Carlisle, PA. Get to the shipper and no one there. Search for our load but nothing. Almost out of time for the day so we park it for the night.

Got to the receiver today at 7am. Live load, which was quick. Builder Felt I believe it was. Learned how to strap it and tarp it. First loaded drive for me. Headed out to Maryland again. We had 2 stops about 60 miles from each other. Very tight at the receivers. Not sure who designed these places but they were not made for trucks LOL. Last stop done and off to Baltimore to do a drop and hook. This load is headed for Cranston, R.I. We headed out of Baltimore with the plan to make it as far as we could before we ran out of time. Made it to Stamford, CT. Here for the night and headed to R.I. at 6:30am

Definitely tired. Physically and Mentally. I've done 10-12 hours a day before in my previous career but driving with some of these 4 wheelers is exhausting and getting used to shifting this Freight liner is a little different.

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.

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Mike B.'s Comment
member avatar

Day 3 of OTR (On The Road) Training

Off to R.I. we go. Noel had informed me the day before that I'd be driving 90% of the day. First time really having to drive in traffic and pouring rain. A little nerve racking at first but I noticed that as the day went on the more confident I felt about it. I was also having a bit of trouble downshifting while loaded with this freight liner but after a few tips from Noel i think I've got it!

We get to the receiver at Cranston, pull in line behind 1 other truck and start untarping and folding. Now with 2 people this goes really quick. Will see how it goes by myself. I can imagine the first few times will be an interesting experience.

We get unloaded and head to CT to pick up some slinkies. Interesting process of getting in line, signed in and sent to get loaded. 100% All PPE here! Learned how to legally strap them down. Off to PA we go. 84 to 81 again. pulling 44,000lbs up those hills in 8th-9th is a slow process. Stopped at exit 178 on 81s for a quick bite at the Iron Skillet. We switched drivers and Noel got us back to Carlise with 10 minutes to spare!

I'm feeling pretty good for the 3rd day but I haven't had to drive on 95 through NYC yet.. By maximizing oy 14hr clock The days are flying by pretty quick.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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