Schneider - Diesel Driving Academy

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Jamie's Comment
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Great, I am sure that is an awesome feeling.

Oh yeah, I was really excited after passing my written exams. Since the exam is taking on a computer, it cuts out when you pass. I let out a big sigh when I passed the general knowledge, because it cut out and it said in small wording "Congrats you passed". rofl-3.gif

Of course I knew I did good on the test, but the whole thing cutting out really gets you for a moment

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

I didn't get the chance to update this over the past few days, simply because I was tired by the time I got back to the hotel. But now that it's the weekend, and we're out of class for the weekend; I thought it was a good time to update everyone. Now I was under the impression that I was going to learn on an auto, like I was told when I talked to my recruiter from Schneider. But when we got to the school, our instructor basically made it clear that we wouldn't be testing on an auto, but we would learn how to drive a manual. I have nothing against learning a manual, if I can get the hang of it. Which I believe I will be able to.

I just want to correct something from the first page, there are 8 people in the class and only 2 of them had their permit already before coming to the school.

Day 3: The day started out as normal, we all met in the class room before the two guys who had their permit went out and did some backing(straight line and offset). The 6 of us who didn't have our permit yet stayed in the class and studied that morning, going over all three sections and taking some practice tests in class. We was getting ready to take our written exams at 1 o'clock.

Lunch time was coming around quickly, and our instructor asked everyone if we was ready to take the tests(if we felt like we wasn't ready, we could go the next day); 3 of us agreed that we was ready for the tests, and the other 3 stayed behind to study more. Two of us had to take all 3 tests - general knowledge, air brakes and combo. But the lady also taking the test only had to take combo since she had her class b CDL already.

So we got up there about 30 minutes before testing, and there was a long line. We had to wait about 30 minutes before we got the chance to test. Good news for everyone, we all 3 passed our test(s). After passing, we had to go back to the school so they could get a copy of our permits, afterwards we was let out of class the rest of the day.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Day 4: Like I mentioned above, the day started out with everyone meeting in the class room before 5 of us went out to the driving pad while the other 3 stayed in class.

I was very excited for day 4, because we well who wouldn't be? You get the chance to get into these amazing trucks, and start learning how to handle them. We all started out doing the air brakes test, having to say all the steps we was doing and why; to help us get ready for the real air brakes test. After we all did the air brakes test, we went around the truck doing the pretrip inspection. After about two hours give or take, 3 of us started doing our straight line back, while the other 2 outside started on the 90 degree back.

My first few times doing the straight line back didn't go very good, I had a problem catching the trailer drift and by the time I did catch it; it was to late and I had to pull back up. I did finally get it after a few tries and getting the hang of it. The 3 of us took turns doing the straight line back until lunch. Before we all head out for lunch, the instructor asked if we was ready to do the offset. I didn't feel very comfortable, but I was up for doing it.

After we got back from lunch, 3 of us got into one of the trucks and we was ready to start doing our offset. We all did pretty good for it being our first time. To my surprise, I actually did my offset better then my straight line back. The instructor explained it very well on how to do the offset, so I'm glad we got such a great instructor, very friendly and jokes with us all the time. But he is serious when he needs to be.

So after going a few times we all started doing the offset alone, with no one else in the truck. This was the real "test" to see if we actually learned it without our instructor telling us how to do it every time. Again, I went last. The first guy did a great job, the lady who went after him started off doing good but she forgot one of the important steps and got way off track. But nothing wrong with that, because it was our first time doing it alone. After about 10-20 minutes she got it in there. Now it was my turn to do the offset, I got into the truck and did the step up since the lady who did it before me just got out of the truck without setting it back up for the next person(I guess she's not comfortable setting it up, since we have todo it for her). I got the offtrack on the first try, which I was surprised since I was having trouble doing the straight line back not long before that.

But again, I like to believe it's because we got an awesome instructor. He doesn't get mad or yell at us when we do mess up; he just explains what we are doing wrong and tells us how to fix it.

Well that was about it for day 4, I didn't include all the small stuff. I almost forgot to include, I did stall the truck 2-3 times due to me forgetting to push in the trailer/truck valves... I got pretty upset about this, because it was something simple to remember. I don't know if everyone makes this mistake at one point or another; but I did multiple times that day. I would remember to push them in when I first got into the truck, but if I had to get out and look while doing the offset; I sometimes forgot to push them back in.

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.
Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Day 5: It started out as normal, we all met in the class room before going out to the drive pad to go over our pre-trip stuff. Now there was going to be 6 of us out there, since another guy passed his exams on day 4, I forgot to mention it above. So we was split into groups of 3 between two trucks.

Group 1 was going to start the day off doing straight line back and offset, while also attempting the 90.

Group 2(my group): was going to start the day off doing the air brakes test, in-cab inspection and outside. Now there was another guy and a lady in my group, I was fine with the lady but the guy was being negative about everything. He said how his uncle said Jerry(our instructor) was a dumb ass because of the way he was teaching us how to do the pre-trip inspection. I personally didn't see anything wrong with it, he just wanted us to do it the same way so we wouldn't forget anything. Then he kept saying how Jerry wasn't telling us things we was suppose to say during the pre-trip, and a lot of other stuff. I liked this guy on day one, but at this point he was becoming annoying, but I still have nothing against the guy. I felt like we was being taught correctly, and this guy has taught other people before we got there and he has mostly a 85-100% graduation rate. Anyways sorry about going on a rant about that.

So my group spent the whole morning doing the pre-trip inspection , we got a 15 minute break at some point; which I only spent about 10 minutes in side getting something to drink, refilling my water bottle and heading back out. The other two in my group stayed inside for another 10 minutes at least.

Now we all got let go for an hour lunch break, and when we got back group 1 was suppose to do the pre-trip inspection, and group 2 would start doing our straight line and offset. But when we got back from lunch, we all started doing the 90, taking turns. One student was having problems, she he got to try for about 30 minutes or more before anyone else. Which I don't see anything wrong, this guy got a late start since he got his permit a day late.

Anyways moving on, when it was my group turn to do the 90 for the first time. We all 3 got into the truck like we was told, and Jerry(Our instructor) told us how to setup for the 90, and that's what we did. Jerry was explaining to us how to do it, and what we need to be looking for. He was standing right outside the driver side, and it was finally for us to attempt the 90. The first guy who went couldn't seem to understand how to do it, and kept steering the wrong way. Again, nothing wrong with that; this is our first time attempting the 90 and this is the guy who got his permit late; so he got a late start and jumping into the 90 on his first day.

So it was finally my turn to attempt the 90 for the first time, note we was being helped by Jerry our instructor. So he basically told us how to do it and what to look for. Now I did mess up a little bit on my first try, but I got it in. He was telling us once we get the back of the trailer past the first set of cones; we could use our free pull ups(and one point for one pull up each). Although I did come in to high, and I would have went out of bounds. But I didn't, so I got to pull up and fix it kinda, I had to use another pull up to get it straight enough for me to back straight into it. I felt like I was doing better on the offset and 90 then I did on my straight line.... But I have gotten my straight line and offset down now, with small mistakes here and there.

But it's the end of the week now, and I'm excited with how far everyone came. And I'm very happy with the progress I have been making. After the first week, and only doing the pre-trip once by myself. I feel I will have problems remembering everything and what is supposed to be said. But only time will tell! I'll be sure to update next week as I go through school.

thank-you-2.gifsmile.gif

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Jamie, these are great reports on your schooling. Keep it up - they are very informative and very typical of how most schools are conducted. You even have that one student who doesn't even have their CDL yet, but they're already an authority and pointing out to the other students how the instructors (long time professional drivers) don't know what they're doing!

Welcome to trucking! confused.gif

There will be many future students who will enjoy reading about your experience.

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.
Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Jamie, these are great reports on your schooling. Keep it up - they are very informative and very typical of how most schools are conducted. You even have that one student who doesn't even have their CDL yet, but they're already an authority and pointing out to the other students how the instructors (long time professional drivers) don't know what they're doing!

Welcome to trucking! confused.gif

There will be many future students who will enjoy reading about your experience.

Haha from reading other posts on the site, I have noticed a lot of the schools normally go the same way; and there is always that one student! I have nothing against the guy, he can just be annoying at times.

Now Jerry did tell us that we can start in third gear, which I thought I read someone on this site or somewhere else. Care to weigh in? Referring to being fully loaded, or even empty.

rofl-3.gif

I almost forgot to mention! Since I have only drove a manual car for a short time some years back, I either kept riding the clutch or letting off of it to fast, and the whole truck would shake pretty badly.. Even on my 5th day I did it a few times, but I'm improving alot. We haven't done any up shifting yet, only first gear and low reverse. But this coming week, we'll be going out on a country road to learn how to up shift and down shift. I'm pretty excited.

dancing-banana.gif

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Your instructor is correct. You can start in third gear. For total noobs like yourself, I'd recommend starting in second for the first few times. Once you get the feel for the position of the clutch pedal as the clutch engages, then you should be able to easily start in third gear.

Once you know the point where that clutch is engaging, then it's just a slow release of pressure from the pedal and you should start rolling forward smoothly and effortlessly. You don't need to push the accelerator. In fact I highly recommend you practice keeping your right foot off the accelerator as you are releasing the clutch. Don't worry about stalling the engine. If you do, then you know you are dumping that clutch. That engine has plenty of torque to get itself rolling without any additional input on the accelerator. Try practicing without using the accelerator at all while you're in the yard. That will help you learn to engage that clutch properly.

Once you start upshifting remember the clutch pedal only needs to be pushed in just enough to disengage the clutch momentarily. When double clutching , you are basically just double tapping that clutch pedal a few inches. You don't want to push it to the floor. It's just a double tap motion. It's really tricky at first. If you know that old tune from "The Adam's Family," there's that repetition in the chorus where they snap their fingers... "da da da dum, snap, snap." That "snap, snap" is the rhythm you want to find when tapping that clutch while changing gears.

Good luck - it's going to drive you crazy for a while, but it will come together right about the time the school is ready for you to test out.

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.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

One thing an instructor taught me about clutch travel was to get to 5th gear and let the truck idle speed. Then press in the clutch and slowly raise it until it started to move again. When you let off after this point you know how much to clutch.

It ended up being about one or two inches in the trucks, and my shifting got better.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

One thing an instructor taught me about clutch travel was to get to 5th gear and let the truck idle speed. Then press in the clutch and slowly raise it until it started to move again. When you let off after this point you know how much to clutch.

It ended up being about one or two inches in the trucks, and my shifting got better.

There is an easier, safer way to determine clutch play when the truck is idling, out of gear and not moving.

Gently and slowly push on the clutch with your left foot; once you begin to feel additional, noticeable resistance is where it begins to catch. When double-clutching this is as far as you need to depress it to ensure the clutch-brake is not engaged (which will totally foul your shift).

Clutch play is a result of wear and how it’s adjusted. It’s different in every truck. Whenever I get in a manual transmission truck, testing the clutch is one of the first things I do.

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Your instructor is correct. You can start in third gear. For total noobs like yourself, I'd recommend starting in second for the first few times. Once you get the feel for the position of the clutch pedal as the clutch engages, then you should be able to easily start in third gear.

Once you know the point where that clutch is engaging, then it's just a slow release of pressure from the pedal and you should start rolling forward smoothly and effortlessly. You don't need to push the accelerator. In fact I highly recommend you practice keeping your right foot off the accelerator as you are releasing the clutch. Don't worry about stalling the engine. If you do, then you know you are dumping that clutch. That engine has plenty of torque to get itself rolling without any additional input on the accelerator. Try practicing without using the accelerator at all while you're in the yard. That will help you learn to engage that clutch properly.

Once you start upshifting remember the clutch pedal only needs to be pushed in just enough to disengage the clutch momentarily. When double clutching , you are basically just double tapping that clutch pedal a few inches. You don't want to push it to the floor. It's just a double tap motion. It's really tricky at first. If you know that old tune from "The Adam's Family," there's that repetition in the chorus where they snap their fingers... "da da da dum, snap, snap." That "snap, snap" is the rhythm you want to find when tapping that clutch while changing gears.

Good luck - it's going to drive you crazy for a while, but it will come together right about the time the school is ready for you to test out.

Yeah I knew he was right, considering I have heard it multiple times before. Even if I didn't know, this is a guy that is teaching us how to drive these trucks; so I can only assume he knows what he's talking about.

Yeah we have been driving on two trucks, and both trucks seem to have different clutch engage points. I have gotten it down a lot better this week, I have been having smooth starts(as much as it can be).

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.

Jamie's Comment
member avatar

Day 6: The day started as any other day, we all met in the class room to discuss any questions we might have had. Then we all went outside, where we were split into two groups. One group would stay at the yard and work on our skills, while the other group went out driving that morning.

Group 1(my group): There was 4 of us, and my group was set to stay at the yard during the morning to go over our backing skills (straight line, off-set and 90 degree.

I was the third person to go out of the 4 of us, but the first two guys did a great job with small mistakes which is common with how new we are to driving these big rigs.

My turn came around, and I was excited to do my backing skills as I have only done the 90 degree twice with help. But I was confident I could do this with no help. When my turn came around, I had to drive from the 90 degree point and set up for the straight line and off-set, but with my little to no experience driving such a big truck with a 53 foot trailer; I had some problems getting the trailer straight. But I would like to include, there was another group out in the driving pad, so we didn't have the room we normally did to turn the truck around and get it setup more easier.

But fast forward about 10, maybe 15 minutes max? I finally got the truck straight enough to do my straight line and off-set, which I did with only small problems. I then pulled forward and made a wide turn to get my truck setup for the 90 degree.

I find this next part pretty funny, because I completed the 90 degree with little to no problem. I believe I went out of bounds once, but I already broke the plane(the first two cones), so I used my two free pulls ups to get straight enough to straight line back into the space. I got a pretty good laugh considering the problems I had with the straight line setup and what not.

Now I'm not the type of person to bash on people for messing up or anything alike, since we are all new and learning. I wouldn't even be that type of person if I had years of experience already. But I felt the need to include how this guy was talking about how everyone else was doing something wrong, or how it took my 10-15 minutes to get my trailer setup for the straight line. After all this talk, he went last and it was finally his turn. He made the same mistakes everyone else made, and plus more. There is nothing wrong with that, we will all learn the skills we need to learn to pass these tests. But you have no room to talk about other people messing up, if you're going to make the same mistakes. That's basically all I feel about that, and I felt I would share it with everyone.

Fast forward to the afternoon(after lunch):

My group finally got our turn to go out and drive, we went out to this country area type where there wasn't a lot of traffic, very few cars and trucks. Now at this point, two guys in my group has already been out here since they had their permit before they got here. So both of those guys got to go first, and other then a few mistakes with up-shifting and down-shifting, they did a great job.

After those two guys went around the block, it was both mine and the other guy first turn with shifting and down shifting. Before we took off, the instructor had us go through the gears, just to make sure we knew where they were at, and so we could get a better feel for them. The other guy went first, and he did a pretty good job for it being his first time shifting in a big truck, although he did have experience in a manual car(not the same totally, but you get a better idea), both me and this guy got to go around the block twice. He did a lot better the second time, as we had to learn how to double clutch , and get the RPM within the range we needed to shift or down shift.

During his turn, the guy I mentioned above made a comment about how he isn't suppose to shift while turning(which you aren't according to the manual). But he had no room to talk, as we all made the nooby mistakes; since we are here to learn.

Now it was finally my turn, and I was pretty nervous since I have only drove a manual car for a short time some years back. Again, not the same but still. I got behind the wheel, put my seat belt on and the instructor had me go through the gears, flip the switch to go into higher gears (10 gear engine, or whatever it's called). I thought I did a pretty good job for my first time, and my instructor agreed.

I made some common mistakes such as not letting off the gas, when I went to shift. I forgot to double clutch sometimes, it went into the next gear smoothly; I just didn't double clutch. I also had trouble finding 3 gear sometimes, and I almost forgot to flip the switch down when I came to a complete stop, and had to restart in third.

But over all, I'm not as nervous about a manual truck anymore. I got three more weeks (including this week); I'm sure it'll get easier and easier as we do it everyday. I'm excited to head back to class tomorrow!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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