Starting Orientation And Company Training Duing Winter

Topic 2266 | Page 1

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Jim Harvey's Comment
member avatar

I graduated a 1 month CDL school here in Pittsburgh, All State Career (great school btw). I'm going to be heading out to orientation early January with a company. Seeing as I went through such a brief schooling period and with winter here and icy mountain roads waiting for a rookie, should I lean toward companies that keep you out with a driver trainer for a longer period of time? Being out with a trainer for a long period of time could be difficult. I'm a loner by nature, but generally get along with everyone. Is 6 weeks with a trainer a time investment that will prove to be an asset towards my long term success as a driver? Will two weeks with a trainer be sufficient? Probably a hard question to answer without anyone here having first hand knowledge of my driving skills.

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.
Animal's Comment
member avatar

There's a lot more to that question than a short yes or no. I do think it's very good that you get to do your training in the winter. You get to experience it and learn first hand with a trainer right there making sure you're doing OK. I think that being able to go through your first winter snows ice etc with a trainer is better than taking the book knowledge, and skills in fairer conditions and learning by yourself solo. So that's a good thing. As for length of training well that depends. Like many things; what you get out of it depends a lot on what you put into it. Plus there's the quality of training and trainer. Training and learning style factor too. I do think coming straight out of school, no matter how well you did, that 2 weeks is a bit short. You may get the driving and backing part down and be able to pass the solo qualification road test but there is SO much more you need to experience and practice to make your first solo truck experience go as smoothly as possible. Some trainers focus everything on getting you ready for the solo test that you get in your own truck and everything is brand new again. Which to an extent it will feel like anyway. The little things like where to look for empties, how this or that customer operates. To an extent it's all gonna seem new again even if you did it with a trainer, but the more you do in training the smoother it goes when solo. "OK. I remember this company. I check in here go there, stage there and the office is over there." So you can get in and out faster and help save time on your HOS. Also, there are some companies that run trainer trucks like team trucks after the trainee's first week. Trainee drives while trainer gets his 10 in the bunk and vice versa and the only times together are crossover times switching. That may be OK, but in that case I'd recommend a longer training period. So much of then non-driving stuff they were only able to brush on in school is very important to master during training and to do that you have to have that awake and two way communication. If you only get an hour or so of that each day because you or your trainer need your 10 in the bunk while the other drives, you need more weeks of training. Some companies absolutely refuse to put a team load on a training truck and require the trainer to be riding shotgun and coaching and teaching the whole time you are driving and your bunk times are the same times so you get 9-11 hours of training per day so it takes less weeks to get what you need to make your first solo truck experience the best it can be from day one. So what I'd look to is how they train more so than length. Congrats on the CDL and best of luck. Be Safe.

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.
Svetlana K.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm glad you said that Animal, as I will also be training during the winter months. I will be glad to have my trainer with me. I feel getting my experience on the hard part in the winter months will help in the long run, not saying I won't be nervous but it's ok, I'll get through it and so will others.

Jim Harvey's Comment
member avatar

Animal, Thanks for your reply. Now I have a grasp on what kind of questions to ask. Can't wait to get back in the truck. Take care.

Tracey K.'s Comment
member avatar

Animal you made perfect points. Getting that HARD knowledge and experience up front in your career is going to stick with you for a long time. We all retain the harder stuff better than the easy stuff and at first start it stays even longer.

You will have experience other drivers in other parts of the country will wish they had.

Having a trainer is a great asset. One everyone should take advantage of. Bad or Good!

Good luck and keep us posted on how things go.

Merry Christmas!

Animal's Comment
member avatar

School Of Hard Knocks is the toughest. Her Lessons learned are generally learned early, learned well and last a lifetime, though. She's a tough teacher, but a good one. A helping hand on the way is a warm blessing indeed. Merry Christmas.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Is 6 weeks with a trainer a time investment that will prove to be an asset towards my long term success as a driver? Will two weeks with a trainer be sufficient? Probably a hard question to answer without anyone here having first hand knowledge of my driving skills.

No, it's actually a super easy question to answer because there's a ton to learn out there that's unrelated to the actual driving part. All of the paperwork, how to deal with DOT , the fueling up process, getting money off of your company card, working the Qualcomm , developing strategies to manage your time efficiently, working the elogs....I could go on and on.

The more time with a trainer the better when it comes to that kind of stuff. But like everyone mentioned above, quality versus quantity does matter a lot when it comes to training time. Take it upon yourself to ask a ton of questions. Also, continuously pretend you're out there alone. Try to make decisions and see how yours would differ from your trainers. Try to plan routes, budget your time, and set strategies for where and when you'll drive versus where and when you'll take breaks. You'll learn a lot that way.

I know it seems impossible to imagine, but learning to back up, shift, and drive is a lot less complicated than learning the seemingly endless amount of details, tips, and tricks to making life on the road safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable. Getting your CDL is the easy part. Learning to manage your entire life out on the road is a thousand times more complex.

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.

Elog:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Elogs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Anthony R.'s Comment
member avatar

I am a loner also by nature so I know how you feel about that-just made it through 3 months with a trainer and it was a huge sacrifice for me to give up my privacy for that long of a period. A lot of the details that Brett laid out in hisw comment will come but it will take time and patience. You may not always agree with your trainers decisions as he is only human-he may be right but there are times he may not be-my trainer made a bad decision to not fuel up and we ended up running out of fuel-I didnt agree but that was the end result. I had to bite my tongue at times till it got raw to make it through. Also experienced much in the way of winter driving-keep braking and acceleration to a minimum and increase following distance-but that is something that will benefit all the time. Wish you well on your training.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Great answer, Anthony R !!! Trainer time is a necessary evil, in the training process. Its alot nicer when you get a trainer who is an angel without wings...but those are few and far between. Ya just gotta hunker down and deal with it...BUT at the same time..LEARN ALL YOU CAN...and ask questions !! And ask them again, if you don't get it the first time. Remember that even tho that trainer is a driver, he also is getting paid extra TO TRAIN YOU. So he/she has a responsibility to YOU and the company he trains for. Now I'm not saying that you can demand things from your trainer..that would be a really bad thing. You still have to be civil, and polite...you just need to learn to ask the SAME question alot of different ways until you get an answer you understand. And if you can't get what you need from your trainer....Come on back here...we will help all we cansmile.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

My trainer wasnt really that bad of a guy-he always treated me with respect which I appreciated. Ive heard far worse stories-I did have to at times pry answers out of my trainer because he didnt explain things in detail at times-more than once learned things by trial and error. All in all, it wasnt as bad as I thought it would be.

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