CDL Training At Coastal

Topic 22640 | Page 1

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JT's Comment
member avatar

I'm a few days late getting started with a diary so here goes. I started my training at Coastal Truck Driving School in Alexandria, Louisiana this week. We started Tuesday because of the holiday. Classes usually run Mon thru Thur.

Day One: Tuesday was a pretty uneventful day. We studied and watched videos all day to prepare for our permit. I say it was uneventful because thanks to the Highroad course I already knew most of it. I did learn a couple new things though.

Day Two: Wednesday several of us went to the DMV to test for our permits. The instructor wanted us to go ahead and get the tanker endorsement as well. I passed the General Knowledge, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicle , and Tanker tests in one sitting. (Thanks to the Highroad course). Only three of us came back with permits in hand. Also the job placement guy came and talked to us. He will help us get our feet in the door with several companies. It was a good talk.

Day Three: Today we hit the road. YooHoo!!! My first time behind the wheel of a big rig. We started just practicing on the backing pad. Straight backing then moving forward and shifting a little. We did that back and forth several times. I did pretty well with the straight backing. The shifting was a little tricky. Then the instructor really made our day. He said let's hit the road. It was just me and another guy. We drove for almost four hours. The instructor mainly wanted us to practice shifting up and down. I had some trouble with that at first. Then when we went back out after lunch I pretty much got the hang of it. He started us with floating the gears so we could get used to the shifting. We'll work on double clutching later. I had a blast. Slowing down and turning and turning from a stopped position is going to take some practice for me. I kept wanting to start turning too soon. It wasn't so much the act of doing it I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs trying to do it with traffic around me. Caught a horn a couple of times from some impatient drivers. Instructor said don't pay any attention to them. Overall it was a good day. We should get some more practice tomorrow. Then a weekend of rest. Six AM to 5 PM makes for a long day. Being out of work for three months I'm not used to having to get up early every morning and have to be somewhere. My body is going to have to adjust to that again. I'll try to keep the updates coming daily.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Great job getting your CLP on the first attempt!dancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gif

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

JT's Comment
member avatar

Great job getting your CLP on the first attempt!dancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gif

thank-you.gif

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Squirrellyguns's Comment
member avatar

Congrats and continued good luck. I too know it’s going to be a challenge getting used to different sleep times. The last 8-10 years I’ve been a night owl with a evening job, now I’ll get to play “when’s rack time today?” Stay safe!

JT's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Squirrel.

Day Four: Well I didn't think anything could be more boring than the first day, until today...lol...Since everyone finally got their permits today was focused on those who haven't gotten behind the wheel yet this week for some backing pad practice. I took the opportunity to go back to the DMV this morning and took and passed the Hazmat test. Next week those of us who want to go will be scheduled to get our fingerprints done so the background check can take place so the endorsement can be officially added to the license. I'm done taking the tests I care to take. I'm not interested in doubles and triples or passenger or school bus. The next two weeks will be plenty of road time. Since there wasn't much for me to do today I also took advantage of the extra time to read the pre-trip section of the CDL Manuel focusing on the air brake check section. Next week it's back behind the wheel for more practice.

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Monday Day 5: Yesterday we spent all day on the road. I got to drive for over three hours. It was a blast. The biggest problem I'm having is downshifting. Sometimes it goes off without a hitch and others it's grinding em because I can't find em. It's just going to take practice and reps. We stopped at a Love's truck stop for a break and the instructor had me back into a spot. I had to do one or two pull ups but I did ok. Today will be more time on the road. The guy who didn't get behind the wheel yesterday gets his turn today. We also started going over pre-trip stuff. There's a lot to remember on that. But if you just start at the front and follow the parts it's hard to miss something but I'm sure some things will be overlooked as long as I don't bomb the three point air brake check. That has to be perfect. Well off to class now. Will update this evening.

JT's Comment
member avatar

Day 6: Well no road time today. A recruiter from Werner came and talked to us this morning. I liked what they have to offer. Right now they are my number one choice. We will get several other visits over the next couple of weeks so I'll see what they all have to say. As for school today we started working on the pre trip. The head of the campus made a video of an inspection making it easy to remember everything. I was really concerned about the pre trip and remembering everything, especially the three point air break check. After watching the video several times and reading and re-reading the CDL Manuel I pretty much have it down already. Later this afternoon, after some pretty heavy thunderstorms rolled through, the instructor began showing us the offset backing maneuver. I'm really nervous about the backing part, especially the 90 degree backing. I'm just going to have to take a deep breath and concentrate. I'm confident I'll get 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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JT's Comment
member avatar

Day 7: Today we practiced on off set backing. How did I do you ask? shocked.png It wasn't pretty. Fortunately one of the instructors took some time to break it down for me this afternoon and I got much better at it. It's still a work in progress though. It's all in the timing. I'm sure I'll have a handle on it soon. Next we will work on the 90 degree. Not looking forward to that. Of course I thought the off set would be much easier than it is. Boy was I mistaken. So I'll probably nail the 90 degree on the first try since I think it's the hardest thing I'll have to conquer...lol... We'll see. One more day then it's off till Monday. I do have to travel Friday to Lafayette, 90 miles south of here, to get fingerprinted for my hazmat endorsement. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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

JT's Comment
member avatar

Day 8: We spent all day on pre trip and off set backing. I feel good about the pre trip. The off set backing is another animal all together. I can get it in the box but not consistently. Too many pull ups right now. Next week we start on the 90. I'm feeling confident I'll get it. It's just going to take practice. We're off till Monday. Y'all have a good weekend.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey JT, I'm curious... do you live in Louisiana? If so, I could probably get you hooked up with a really nice flat-bed gig on this dedicated SAPA account I'm working on. They have been hiring new drivers lately. If you're interested let me know.

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.

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