Starting Classes Tomorrow

Topic 22653 | Page 2

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Tom C.'s Comment
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Week 2 day 1... Strait to the range like last week starting last Wednesday. Well today I did my pretrip as every other day and waited until after lunch till I could get into the truck again. But I think it was worth it.

Offset went off without a problem, no pull ups needed and then tried the alley dock ( we just call them 90s here) and 2 orb3 pull ups to manage it.... Still I have done all my maneuvers without an instructor talking me through them, this fact has me proud of myself.

More updates to come as long as I am in this school.

Army 's Comment
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Old School's Comment
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Offset went off without a problem, no pull ups needed and then tried the alley dock ( we just call them 90s here) and 2 orb3 pull ups to manage it....

Tom, some rookie drivers think it's a sign of great skills if they don't have to do a pull-up. In reality pull-ups can and will be part of the strategy a skilled driver will use to execute a backing maneuver in certain situations. Sometimes it will help to get the truck jack-knifed somewhat and then pull up to decrease the angle you're dealing with.

It sounds like you're doing real well. Congratulations!

Tom C.'s Comment
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Oh I know that pull ups are essential, I will need the once I get to hauling freight. I have no doubt I will need both for the alley dock during my test. I just want to learn what I can do in a 'controlled' environment, I am trying to gain as much control over my trailer as possible during this phase of training. If I get somewhat decent control and can manipulate to where I want it to go I think it will make my life easier later on.

Tom C.'s Comment
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Okay, once again I have two days to post on. Tuesday I did my daily ritual of doing the pretrip managed to get in one set of maneuvers, offset and alley dock.

Today, much the same except I didn't get time to do the offset just managed the 90 ( alley dock ) with one pull up.

Even with the pack of time in the seat I do believe I can at the moment can pass the pretrip. ( including aibrakes ) and the 3 manuvers. I just really need time on the road and get used to double clutching , floating the gears would be easier I believe.

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.

Tom C.'s Comment
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And once again, its two days worth of updates owed to you fine people. I am posting from home, the weekends are free and I took the 2.5 hour trip to come home to spend time with my wife. Thursday I did my ritual once more of doing my pre-trip, didn't miss anything, most of the day I was waiting for my turns in the truck, did the offset and alley with 1 and 2 pull ups respectively, 2nd pass I got into the truck with enough time to do both once more, 3 pull ups on the offset and the 90..... I go stuck, dirt yard and students are NOT gentle with the clutch and brakes so the yard is full of pot holes. Trued to rock it out but the power wheels on the drives were off the ground enough not to gain purchase. The trucks we use are freightliners, took me a minute and I reached over and flipped the diff lock, I do know what that does and got it moving and got it in the box, almost perfect with the IC bar between the required cones. as I was getting ready to head out I let the instructors know (it was 5 PM they shut the trucks down at roughly 4:45) And the one who takes the students out on the road told me he needs to get me on the road because my maneuvers are good, color me shocked, not even a full two weeks at the school, with 7 days of being at the range I am getting told I am doing good, I felt.... pride in myself (won't get ****y)

Today was.... interesting, I wound up having to go over to the main office for the school to do a basic competency test to make sure I know how to do math and read. I wound up not getting into the truck unfortunately, but come Monday and after my 2nd drug test, I plan to practice more. I want to pass on the first attempt on everything.

I will make a reminder tomorrow to give my opinions on the program from being in to it for two weeks, the hotel, getting to the school and range, and my opinion on the instructors ( will not name them but give a bit of an overview of them).

Tom C.'s Comment
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Monday of week 3. Had to go in for a 2nd drug test, P.A.M. required the second one. I studied hard for it smile.gif

After watching the others do their maneuvers till after lunch I managed to get an offset and an alley dock in. Would have passed those on the skills test.

I think all I really need now is some time on the road. I am happy with my progress thus far.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tom C.'s Comment
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Okay today I got my maneuvers in and one pull up each for the offset and alley. As stated before I am confident I will pass all the tests in the yard, still have to get some time on the road to have practice enough to pass that part of the test.

The school uses freightliners to train on bit there is one other truck the school owns, a 1996 international she has had her rear end blown out twice within one week. She's been parked and only the instructors are allowed to 'play' with her, one of the instructors ( ill call him G for now ) calles her his baby. Well G got a 16 foot span of railroad track and uses that track to level the dirt yard, using the international, ( Big Red ) to drag it around. Well I know G trusts me because he had me drag that track segment around for an hour and will be again tomorrow. Gives me practice with the clutch and maybe some low gear shifting too.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Tom C.'s Comment
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Oh sheesh, I forgot to post, been exhausted. I'm spending my weekends at home, so using my actual PC to post. Anyway, the last 3 days have been busy, for me at least. More dragging that rail segment, maneuvers, teaching some people pre trip, and my first shot at the road. Ill focus on Thursday because that is the only major notable event. I have to admit, double clutching is a pain for me, I can float them but the problem comes in with the double clutching which is required for the test. I do have to watch my mirrors more, rubbed a curb with the trailer tires, otherwise... I have no other major issues with driving the rig. I will admit, I was a little frustrated, focusing on the road, and other obsticles with the addition of the instructor telling me what I need to do. I paid attention as closely as possible, I just need more road time and I think Ill get it somewhat quickly.

And coming up on my 4th week I am scheduled sometime this upcoming week. A ( the one that was with me on the road) and G will let me do the yard tests and put the road test on hold if I test Monday, I think they want me to get passed on my first pass on each portion. I... I think that they believe I will do good, it makes me happy they have such confidence in me.

Its just now sinking in that I am really doing this. I was thinking Thursday as I was walking to the restroom, that my test is coming up.... Almost had a panic attack! I was just walking to the restroom to relieve myself and I started to get scared!!!!! Not the inspections or the backing, but the road portion. Then I calmed myself down after a moment and though to myself.... I CAN and WILL do this... just think of W ( the tester ) as being a complete newbie to the yard that has never seen a semi up close before and just TEACH him how its done!

Oh completely random thing..... G got into the truck, acting like a student with the whole 'can I try a 90?!'... he proceeds to pull out and noses the truck in, leans over to the passenger side window and says 'OOOPS I F***** up! letme fix it!' then proceeds to back out, and rotates the trailer on it's tandems and backs it in with a single pull up and then says 'I fixed it'. I nearly wet my pants from laughter, then he has the stones to say hes rusty! Thought I'd share that! G is a wonderful instructor, I care not what any person says, he is my first teacher in the industry, love the guy to bits, A is pretty cool too, very encouraging as well, and he said hes got my mark, hes the one that takes the students out for time on the road. I love the Philly branch of AAA School of Trucking, all the staff there are awesome, and good at their jobs, Only downside is.... they get overbooked.

Okay Ill leave this off for now, I will say this to all of you that has encouraged me here, thank you.

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".

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.
Tom C.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot to post for the entire week..... And I am a little embarrassed that I did forget. The last week was busy for me, so Ill share an overview, all but Monday I got maneuvers in I had gotten on the road a total of 4 times at the school, And I passed my test on Friday! Only needed one try for each portion of the tests. Most of the week's details I had forgotten. I do remember teaching the new class how to do their pre trip and air brakes.

The AAA School of Trucking out of Philadelphia is a great school, the instructors are top notch. Overbooked but a good school. The Motel 6 we stayed at was..... well it had a lot wrong with it, the internet connection was unstable at best, every room I had seen had repairs that needed to be made, I had found a wolf spider on my pillow, even saw ****roaches, the tubs/showers didn't have the no slip strips in them (wound up falling once) and it was on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River so $5 in tolls every day.

To sum up the last 4 weeks, I had fun, learned a great deal of the basics, (and that is what I learned, just enough to pass the CDL tests) Made a few friends and I wound up with 2 choices for teammates for when I do that 6 months or 65,000 miles of teaming. I look forward to PA sending my new Class A driver's licence and getting on the road with a mentor and learning more.

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.
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