When Is It Too Soon To Look For Another School?

Topic 22582 | Page 1

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Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I'm scheduled to test this week and I get four attempts to pass before I'm sent home. So, it's pass the CDL exam by Saturday or go home.

Before anyone tells me about being a quitter or having a failing attitude, first bear in mind that I havent quit. I'm still giving this 150% until the end.

However, even though I'm one of the best student drivers in my class, and have PTI down to a science, there is that little issue of backing a trailer...

Up to this point I have clearly failed to grasp some of the fundamentals necessary to successfully complete this maneuver. I fully intend to keep giving it hell. But the chances of me waking up tomorrow and suddenly knowing how to do this correctly are not very likely. Most people just arent born knowing how to do this.

I've gotten more advice on how to do this than I could ever recite. And if great advice alone made things possible, I would be rich, handsome, and successful beyond imagination.

So, as a matter of practicality, I have to recognize that there is a possibility that I might not succeed this time around. Failing to admit that possibility is what gamblers call throwing good money after bad money.

There's also a possibility that I could somehow pull off a miracle. In which case the other plans are already laid out and waiting. So no further actions are necessary at this time.

So, I can wait to see how this plays out. Or I can begin taking steps to create a buffer just in case it doesn't.

My only concern right now is how it might look to another school or company for me to apply while still here. Is that something that would look really bad or am I over thinking that?

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.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

You're way overthinking it.

I would say at least 50% - 75% of the students who are about to test for their CDL don't think they're going to pass the first time. Almost all of them do though. So most people feel that way.

Also, it's absolutely amazing what a person can do when they clear their mind of any possibility of failure. You've heard, "Failure is not an option," well you have to believe that deeply.

I've recently started rock climbing. I always have the mindset that failing is not an option. I know the routes I'm on have been done so I need to do them. I can't tell you how many times I would think, "Man, I just don't know if I can get past this spot." and then immediately I would think to myself, "I have to get past this spot and I will get past this spot. I must" and eventually you do.

One time I tried like 3 times on this one move and couldn't figure it out. The guide I was with was up above waiting on me and watching patiently. I yelled up to him, "I found a few things that don't work so I've just about got it. I'll figure it out." Sure enough I did.

It's amazing how empowering it is to just say those words out loud though. Even when I said I'd figure it out there was still that tiny part of me that thought, "But you've already tried 3 times. Are you sure you'll figure it out?"

The thing is, that little voice of doubt will never, ever go away completely. What you can do is shift your focus to the part of you that truly believes it can be done and focus on the task at hand.

Giving yourself the option of failing will move you toward failure even if you can't pinpoint exactly how or why it does, but trust that it does. You won't put in the effort. You won't relax and let yourself flow through the challenge instead of locking up and choking. You simply won't make it happen if you don't feel you have to. It's human nature.

Everyone has heard the expression, "Burn the ships," which refers to taking away all possibility of retreat. In your mind you have to burn the ships. There is no backup plan. Backup plans aren't backup plans, they're failure plans. You're planning to fail if you're setting up a backup plan to success.

Do not consider the possibility of another school. This is it. You get through this or you're done. That's the way you look at it. Now change your mindset. Burn the ships and go make it happen.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I completely agree with everything Brett said, and particularly want to emphasize this...

Giving yourself the option of failing will move you toward failure even if you can't pinpoint exactly how or why it does, but trust that it does. You won't put in the effort.

Consider this your last shot. You have to make it work.

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

And I'm doing just that. Currently on a break only because that same "winning" instructor is on break. I went back to observe others doing their practice - with the same instructor, no less. My buddy tried to get me to pick a different one, but I had a problem with this dude and I needed to deal with it. So, I've been managing his arrogant ass and trying to figure the movements of the wheels. Still not making much sense to me just watching. But I've really got no other choice. I'm just not sure I could go through all this stress and BS again. So I've really got no choice but to figure it out. Sooner or later something has to click because I've got everything else down pretty good.

Thanks for the encouragement. I just needed to fix the cranial-rectal-inversion I was suffering from.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

This sounds funny, but it works brilliantly. My class did it when I was in school.

Take a toy tractor trailer and play around with it on the table. Just do some different backing maneuvers by pushing on the tractor and watch how the trailer reacts to the tractor's input. It really helps your mind see what's happening from a different perspective and helps you visualize what you're trying to do once you get back behind the wheel.

I discovered some really awesome tricks to help me in tricky backing situations that way and I used them throughout my career. Some of them were really unorthodox but super effective. Quite a few times I've had drivers come up to me and said things like, "Wow, I thought you were a student who was getting themselves into a mess and suddenly you were backed in perfectly! What the heck was that???"

rofl-3.gif

I learned a lot of tricks just playing with a toy truck on the table. Give it a shot. It really does help the mind visualize things a lot better.

millionmiler24's Comment
member avatar

Well, I'm scheduled to test this week and I get four attempts to pass before I'm sent home. So, it's pass the CDL exam by Saturday or go home.

Before anyone tells me about being a quitter or having a failing attitude, first bear in mind that I havent quit. I'm still giving this 150% until the end.

However, even though I'm one of the best student drivers in my class, and have PTI down to a science, there is that little issue of backing a trailer...

Up to this point I have clearly failed to grasp some of the fundamentals necessary to successfully complete this maneuver. I fully intend to keep giving it hell. But the chances of me waking up tomorrow and suddenly knowing how to do this correctly are not very likely. Most people just arent born knowing how to do this.

I've gotten more advice on how to do this than I could ever recite. And if great advice alone made things possible, I would be rich, handsome, and successful beyond imagination.

So, as a matter of practicality, I have to recognize that there is a possibility that I might not succeed this time around. Failing to admit that possibility is what gamblers call throwing good money after bad money.

There's also a possibility that I could somehow pull off a miracle. In which case the other plans are already laid out and waiting. So no further actions are necessary at this time.

So, I can wait to see how this plays out. Or I can begin taking steps to create a buffer just in case it doesn't.

My only concern right now is how it might look to another school or company for me to apply while still here. Is that something that would look really bad or am I over thinking that?

Seeing this is makin me think, dammit I wish I was in Cedar Rapids right now. If so I would clear it with them so I could work with ya 1 on 1, or at the very least try to clear it with CRST and NADTA.

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.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Jeremy, oversteering is usually at the top of the list of things that causes new drivers problems when backing. I realize that's hard to understand when you're not even sure why it's not working.

Try this... as quickly as you notice your angles are getting off, stop immediately. Don't start trying to fix it with the steering wheel. Stop - take a breath - look at what's happening - think about what you did that got you to that position, then pull forward a bit, straightening out the front wheels of your tractor as you do. That should help fix an acute angle problem. Then start slowly backing again, watching where those wheels are rolling. I never focus on the trailer's side or back - I'm always watching those tandems ro see how and where they are rolling.

Slowly make corrections from the wheel. Easy does it at the wheel. Everytime your angles get squirrelly on you STOP. Pull forward straightening up the tractor's steering wheels. Everything needs to be done slowly. There's nothing in a tractor trailer that needs to be done fast. The slower you do this the easier it is to recognize where you are going wrong in time to pull forward and correct it.

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Jeremy it took me 3 days to grasp the concept of even a straight line back. I understand your frustration. Remember to always turn the wheel TOWARDS the problem when you start losing the trailer. If trailer is drifting towards the left boundary, turn the wheel to the left a little then bring it back . I get it man, I was in the same boat. I can confirm what Brett said, I was pretty sure I was going to fail but managed to pass everything on my first try. You've got this man, don't give up . In the unlikely event you don't pass (let's not think about that, because you're gonna earn that CDL) then consider another school if it comes to that. If I recall correctly million miler earned his CDL on his final attempt but I believe his mistakes were the driving portion, but now he's out there getting it done and even training. We believe in you Jeremy, now you just need to believe in yourself

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.
Dorothy M.'s Comment
member avatar

I was in school last year and just could not do the skills. I had that trailer all over the yard along with teachers screaming at me ; what the ***(* are you doing? I was in a class of 9 ; the only gal. Two dropped out because of drug tests. Two passed the test on their first go, the rest on their second go. Me ; I wasn't even sent for a shot at the test. I put so much time and effort and tears into the test. Eventually, I took a 3 week break, sat back in the seat and it all started to come together. Then I went to test. My one teacher read me the riot act in the truck on the way to the test, saying there was no way I was going to pass and I should just turn around right there and then. Well, I passed the pre test, had a major panic attack in the skills and couldn't complete it. I took another 3 week break as the school was closed for vacation. I went back for 2 full days of practice and went down with a different teacher to test. I aced the skills test with just one point. I didn't get the driving part because I went over the white line on the last bend and had to retest. I had it up until then. Then a week later I went back and got it no problem. Remember you have 4 tries ; If it takes 4, that's ok ; its not on your license that it took 4 tries. The real test is when you are out in the real world.

Just in the skills I found ; take your time. Ask the examiner everything and make sure you understand what he wants. I didn't care how long I took to understand what he wanted, as long as I could visualize it in my mind. Slow and steady makes the cut. Its not a race at all.

Good luck, take it easy and deep breathes.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I ask myself "which way do i need the back of the trailer to go?" and turn the opposite direction. then "which way do i want the front of the trailer to go?" and turn thr same direction

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