Tips For Minimizing Time In Training

Topic 23255 | Page 1

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Alexandr S.'s Comment
member avatar

I will soon be starting OTR orientation and training, where the training time is variable putatively based on demonstrated readiness and performance. Because of my dog, I am trying to finish training ASAP so I do not have to board him for too long.

I am feeling extremely optimistic based on 1. My performance at private CDL school was top notch and I can do the backing maneuvers without losing any points. I did all my skills perfectly when I passed my CDL test. Overall I just feel confident driving the damn thing. Many of my peers not nearly as much. So that gives me optimism. 2. I’ve been absorbing rookie advice materials on forums and YouTube very thoroughly.

On the other hand, my CDL school (as expected) did not teach coupling, qualcom, tandem adjusting, weighing procedure, etc. So all of those things I will learn at orientation and training. I will study up more on these things in the next week to get a better foothold.

Does anyone have other suggestions or materials to study to ensure that I can perform as efficiently as possible at training? What about attitude advice to ensure that that I am deemed “ready” ASAP?

Thanks!

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.

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.

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".

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Does anyone have other suggestions

My advice is Take Your Time.

Look, I've had dogs all my life. From my Great Pyrenees "Bear" to my current little rat terrier "Trixie." I understand where your coming from, but you don't understand what you're getting into. You have got to be patient and get this started off right. You need to let go of that anxiety concerning your dog. Right now you've got to focus on one thing.

Let that training be your sole focus for now. Your dog is gonna forget all about that time he spent waiting for you to return in about two seconds after he sees and hears you. The reunion will be all the better if you know what you're doing while your cruising across the country with him by your side. Do not rush your entry into trucking. You will pay for it dearly. You've got a lifetime to spend with that dog, don't cut it short by rolling your rig over the side of Mountain just because you were in a rush to cut your boarding fees a little.

I promise you whatever confidence you built at truck driving school is about to go right out the window. Take your time, and get this right.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Trust me, driving in school vs real life is way different. I was good at backing in school in the real world it is much different, trying to rush through training could end your career before it begins.

G-Town's Comment
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One of the most important attributes a truck driver must have is patience. An abundant amount of it. You cannot rush training or anything pertaining to safe operation of a truck. In fact your whole attitude towards it is wrong and should not be geared towards speed and getting through it as quickly as possible.

Developing the necessary skills to be a competent driver, require many, many repetitions and practice. It takes time to get it right and you must maintain your paintience and laser-focus as part of the process.

And attitude...you are about to be given a very large dose of humility once you begin training. Do not approach it with over-confidence based on school results. School prepares a student to pass the CDL exams, nothing more. School does not teach you how to be a truck driver.

Good luck.

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.
andhe78's Comment
member avatar

Hate to tell you this, but your real training will probably begin with the trainer, who won’t care you were the best student to ever graduate your school. Big difference between backing into a dark finger dock with twenty drivers waiting on you, and backing around a couple cones in a parking lot. Your time with the trainer is some of the most valuable learning time there is, why rush it. You’re with a guy who has already experienced most every situation you will run across. My biggest problem, was not knowing enough to even know the important questions to ask the resource I had at my disposal.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Rush, rush, rush..... CRASH! That's what rushing leads to. Every time I try to hurry it takes longer. Like the others said, you have no idea what you're in for. If training is variable, it is up to your trainer to evaluate you. You have not had to maneuver a 40,000 pond load down a steep grade or around tight Pennsylvania turns yet. You have not driven with a loaded trailer yet. Hell, there is no guarantee you will make it through orientation. If you are that worried about your dog, you may not have thought this through. Good luck.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm adding to the chorus: speeding up your training is a contradiction in terms. Nice to have a doggie on board, but learning about maneuvering a big rig, handling business at shippers/ receivers, route planning (to maximize your driving/ earning time.) needs to take precedent.

Many people mostly think that once they get the CDL , they're ready for the big time. Not so fast. Swift, for example, requires new/ rookie drivers to spend 200 hours, about four or five weeks, with an experienced trainer to both teach you the finer points and to assess you as a company driver.

On the company side, they really do want to get you into your own truck and start making revenue for them as soon as possible. But in their experience they understand newbies still need a bit of polishing before they're cut loose for the road.

Stick with your full training, Alex, and you can be a great driver, and enjoy the OTR experience with your canine buddy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I had a trainee who kept asking me the first week "so can i upgrade now?"

a couple weeks later it was "this is harder than i ever expected" after hometime it was "im considering staying on your truck to team aftwr upgrading"

take your time. my article.below talks about rushing and distractions.

The Need for Speed Can Kill Your Career

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

Rush, rush, rush..... CRASH! That's what rushing leads to. Every time I try to hurry it takes longer. Like the others said, you have no idea what you're in for. If training is variable, it is up to your trainer to evaluate you. You have not had to maneuver a 40,000 pond load down a steep grade or around tight Pennsylvania turns yet. You have not driven with a loaded trailer yet. Hell, there is no guarantee you will make it through orientation. If you are that worried about your dog, you may not have thought this through. Good luck.

I thought West Virginia was a total pain driving in the mountains all the turns, then I get sent back to the terminal in Kansas City and right back to Pottsville Pennsylvania and some of those mountains made West Virginia look like a cakewalk. Turn after turn after turn. I'm no longer freaked out about the mountains. I don't like driving them just because of all the tight turns but I know I can do it now. I'm not like the Cowboys that go flying by me. I don't impede traffic but I'm not about to fly down those mountains. I do get a grin on my face when I see drivers going much slower than me. Hey I'm scared to death too of rolling over. I love my Jake brake. You can tell when someone is empty and when they're pulling a heavy load. I have to tell you at the end of a day in the mountains I am exhausted. Don't get in a hurry to get things done. My biggest problem is once I get to a receiver or shipper trying to get things done quickly on the Qualcomm I always screw it up and have to redo it. That and getting into the dock, every place is different some are just mind-boggling impossible to get into it seems. Then you have your GPS screw you over and you end up driving 10 to 20 miles just to be able to turn around safely. It's happened to me and it's going to happen to you. I'm a huge dog lover and I know what you're thinking. But this is totally different than CDL School and even with your trainer, when you're on your own it's a whole nother learning session everyday.

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.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I will also chime in here that it is incredibly beneficial to build a relationship with your trainer, with the goal of being able to get ahold of them after you get off their truck. I've been out solo for almost eight months now and I still talk to my trainer at least once a week with one small question or another. And not just your trainer, but other experienced, productive drivers at your company, or drivers you may strike up a relationship with out on the road.

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