Schneider Pre-Work Screen Keeps Me From Driving For Them

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Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar
No one can really relax and focus very well with someone looking over their shoulder critiquing every detail of their existence. It's nice to leave the student alone and let them do their thing when the conditions are pretty mellow.

I can definitely understand that. I was extremely nervous when I had to do an annual ride along late last year, even though I'm comfortable by myself even in congested Chicago traffic.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

First of all there is no perfect training solution. They all have their pros and cons and that can vary depending on who is considering it. More than any other thing we deal with, the training decision is personal. And the experience is highly variable form one student driver to the next. What works for some, doesn't work for others. That will likely never change.

All of the training processes, no matter what company, work (or don't) to the extent both trainer and trainee are on the same page; trainee committed to learning and the trainer committed to observing, teaching and training. I am not going to start a holy war over this, okay? I had over 13,000 miles before I was turned loose solo and I learned a ton form my mentor throughout the ENTIRE 6 week process. At that point, I thought and believed I was "as ready" as I could be to drive solo, in fact I thought I was ready when I got to the 200 hour mark. It worked for me. In contrast ChiefJK was upgraded to solo after 1250 miles of supervised driving. Again, for me personally I would not be comfortable running solo after one week of supervised driving. ChiefsJK went on to say this as part of his reply:

But I can tell you this, I didn't feel comfortable at all or thought I was ready to head out on my own (solo) after 1200 miles.

I did not write that...and I'd bet he is not alone in that sentiment. His honesty is greatly appreciated. None of this exchange was intended or meant to bash Schneider or ruffle anyone's feathers. I made it very clear that Schneider is a very good company, one that if given different circumstances I would gladly drive for them. Is that clear? To everyone? Steve, UHC? I respect you guys as peers and fellow safe drivers, so lets not make "this" into something it's "not".

UHC wrote this reply:

So essentially 5 days worth of solo driving then team? Other than the teaming aspect, what does the trainer actually learn from teaming that they can't learn with the trainer there? Legitimate question btw.

So essentially "yes" UHC, it's 50 hours, it could be 5 days, could be 6. You know how the clock works...it was rhetorical question. The net of it, not much different than 1 week with your Schneider trainer, especially when factoring-in the 70 hour clock that applies to all of us. The difference however was that my training was just beginning after about a week of driving. That was my preference and one of the reasons I chose Swift to train me in the first place.

Again, I can only share my personal experience but I learned an incredible amount after the first 50 hours with my mentor. The fact of the matter he was always there and available when I needed him and I did need his input more than once. He was able to quickly respond to any situation I was not familiar with; such as tight backing, shipper/receiver issues and DOT scales. If nothing else there was less FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and my confidence was able to grow because I had immediate help available 24 x 7 if I needed it. "Priceless" if you ask me...

So once we were teaming everything that occurred the previous 11 hours was reviewed. Everything that was planned for the next 11 hours was also reviewed, specifically any deliveries/pick-ups and the trip route itself. We always reviewed clock status and always discussed areas that could be improved or were lacking in knowledge. Without me really knowing it, he was enabling safe and professional habits that I continue to this day.

One situation I vividly recall was; my first trip over the Grape Vine. It occurred after we began team training, so essentially I was through and over the pass while he was sleeping. We had a load of paper 45,000+ pounds so I was obviously had an elevated sense of concern (fear). He carefully reviewed and listened to my plan on how to drive the hill in pieces, both ascending and descending. We traced the route using the Atlas, highlighting what to do and where. My confidence was reinforced and my approach was confirmed; he made it clear to "holler" if I needed him. I would not want to tackle something like the Grape Vine or Donner or any of the other dozen mountain passes for the first time, on-my-own, solo. That alone was enough to convince me that mentoring/team-training is valuable. I'd also suggest my ability to handle difficult situations was greatly enhanced by the additional 5 weeks of seasoning.

I could get into much more detail but I think that's enough to satisfy the question.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Unholychaos's Comment
member avatar

That definitely satisfied my question G-Town. The biggest thing though, was your first paragraph.

First of all there is no perfect training solution. They all have their pros and cons and that can vary depending on who is considering it. More than any other thing we deal with, the training decision is personal. And the experience is highly variable form one student driver to the next. What works for some, doesn't work for others. That will likely never change.

The 1 week, or in my particular case 2 weeks, out directly supervised with a trainer was enough for me to get the basics down. My first trainer was a Chicago local based out of the Walmart DC in Hammond, IN. We would make pickups no more than 100m away from our terminal in Gary, IN and drop and hook at the DC. We had a lot of live loads; practically every pickup I remember was a live load. He also went home every day so my actual OTR training was completely nonexistent. He never taught me about setting ETAs, NAT (Next Available Time), or really any clock management. But I did get the experience of dealing with Chicago every day.

If I hadn't asked for a 2nd trainer and explained the situation with the 1st one, I'd have been dead in the water that first solo week.

Long story short, I needed 2 weeks to feel, in the very least, comfortable enough to know what I was doing. Backing still was horrendous, but it improved over time; I'm still learning tricks here and there as we all do. But I really don't believe team training, for me personally, wouldn't have made a huge difference afterwards. Yes that first week solo was extremely nerve wracking, as it usually is for everyone. But in my mind, learning the basics of everything then being set loose pretty much forced me to either improve as I go, or drown the deep end.

There's probably a point I'm missing somewhere as I tend to get rather rambly, but I do agree with you. What works for one, may not work for another. Schneider's direct supervision worked for me, swift or prime's team training method may not have (could be the whole "my life is in this stranger's hands" thing that I'm not comfortable with (reason why I'll never team nor train)).

No matter what path we chose to get there, we're all sharing the same roads now.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

UHC wrote:

The 1 week, or in my particular case 2 weeks, out directly supervised with a trainer was enough for me to get the basics down. My first trainer was a Chicago local based out of the Walmart DC in Hammond, IN. We would make pickups no more than 100m away from our terminal in Gary, IN and drop and hook at the DC. We had a lot of live loads; practically every pickup I remember was a live load. He also went home every day so my actual OTR training was completely nonexistent. He never taught me about setting ETAs, NAT (Next Available Time), or really any clock management. But I did get the experience of dealing with Chicago every day.

If I hadn't asked for a 2nd trainer and explained the situation with the 1st one, I'd have been dead in the water that first solo week.

Long story short, I needed 2 weeks to feel, in the very least, comfortable enough to know what I was doing.

Thank you for that UHC. I love this response...!

Here is why: I constantly stress to "own your training experience". I am sure many of you guys have made jokes about the level of anal-retentiveness I apply to that cliche'. But it is so incredibly true and actually a precursor to what you can expect on the road. You must own it...and the folks who understand this, usually are the top-performing, most successful drivers. I believe what I "bolded" in UHC's reply (above) clearly indicates he did "just that"... perfectly executed example of "owning the training process". He totally understood what he needed; was lacking from his first week of training, professionally communicated it to a Schneider Management, didn't complain or belly-ache, he just "got on with it". In this case an extra week of time investment likely advanced UHC's understanding and approach to his OTR job many times over.

Nothing I could say or do will ever explain what is meant by "taking ownership" during training, better than what is described in UnHolyChaos' response. A living example of how to handle the imperfect nature of the training process.

This forum never ceases to amaze me,...great job UHC, we all appreciate you sharing the experience.

And just for the record...I wasn't initially comfortable with the idea of putting my life in someone else's hands... All the more reason why anyone ging through team training must take the time to talk with their trainer before committing to them. I got lucky, my Mentor had 14 years of driving experience, 8 years of training experience. I knew all of this before I committed to getting on his truck. Back to ownership...

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.

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.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

One thing missed here is that Schneider spends the first week of orientation having new hires driving locally with trainers and backing mornings and afternoons. Then, in the third week, same thing to be sure they can test out.

To be sure, Schneider’s system isn’t for everyone. But it worked for me and many thousands of others.

ChefsJK's Comment
member avatar

It worked for me as well even though I am no longer with them. They certainly test your problem solving skills and how adaptive you are to every situation you come across, which to me I enjoy. I woukd rather learn from my mistakes then having someone tell me before i make a mess of things. And i mean that directed towards non life threatening situations or any situation that could put you in harms way.

One thing missed here is that Schneider spends the first week of orientation having new hires driving locally with trainers and backing mornings and afternoons. Then, in the third week, same thing to be sure they can test out.

To be sure, Schneider’s system isn’t for everyone. But it worked for me and many thousands of others.

Philip N.'s Comment
member avatar

I shifted gears, no pun intended, and called a SWIFT recruiter today. I am a vet so they are offering me a scholarhsip! I start at Richmond on July 9. Also, I hear what others are saying about time on the road with a driver trainer. The SWIFT Academy is longer and driver/trainer time 3-4 weeks. The recruiter said new CDL drivers start at .38cpm.

One drawback for me is I'll have to learn on a manual transmission. I am not great with the gears just driving a car. The Schneider 2-week course was for automatic trans. The SWIFT recruiter told me they have them but I have to learn on a manual. He also said I could get something like a regional job. Basically, I would not have to go any further west than the eastern border of TX.

I appreciate all the input. I have been working my way through the High Road Training Program. SWIFT has me watching a boring, monotonous video that must be completed before school.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Philip N.'s Comment
member avatar

I met a young gal who drives team for SWIFT and she said she loves it. She is a slight woman so I don't expect she can pull 100lbs either.

Sorry Phillip...most companies will require you to prove you can physically do the work. With arthritic knees how did you expect to get in and out of the truck? What about sweeping trailers? How will you get inside an empty to sweep it out? If you can’t pull 100 lbs and do 10 squats, maybe this isn’t for you.

Good luck

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Phillip, I attended the Richmond Academy, never regretted my decision. It's very fast paced but if you apply a significant effort and maintain a positive attitude, that will help enable your success.

Don't fret over the manual. Their job is to teach you how-to properly shift a multi-range transmission. Comparing shifting a car to shifting a Class 8 truck is apples to oranges.

One of our Moderators, Errol is an instructor with Swift's School in Memphis.

If you have any questions we'll do our best to answer them.

Good luck.

Robert H.'s Comment
member avatar

HI so how you liking CFI I have applied with them as well. I just gonna probably go to Truck Driver Institute for my training here in MS and have my Post 911 GI Bill pay for it plus do the military apprenticeship program there at CFI.

That sounds like a "Dollar" account with Schneider. Not great idea for a brand new driver. Those places are very hard to get in and out of when you are a brand new driver.

At 50, I went through CFI's paid training. They even reimbursed me for my permit, endorsements, medical, hazmat background, and CDL. They have a one year commitment. We haul dry van and the hardest things I do are crank the landing gear and sweep out trailers. Here is a link to my CFI training diary CFI's one year contract is pro rated. For every month you work for them you pay off 1/12th of your contract. We stress the importance of staying with your first company at least one year. This will help you secure another job should you desire. I have been with CFI for a year now and it flew by.

I suggest you read through our starter pack.

Then you can look through Paid CDL Training Programs

Good luck we are here to help.

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

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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