I'M So Conflicted! (TNT)

Topic 23381 | Page 1

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Mostly H.'s Comment
member avatar

So I'm brand new to trucking, I just joined Prime, so far it's been pretty good. They're interested in making sure I know what I'm doing. It's my 10th day on TNT , and I'm afraid I don't know what to do! My previous PSD trainer was quitting and forgot to check that I knew, well, anything! Long story short, blah blah blah, CDL test pass woo! Now I'm on a truck where I am with Harvey Dent! (Two face for you non-nerds). The guy is fairly chill on most things, makes sure we get showers (whew!) And has rules about no religion or politics (good good). However when it comes to driving this guy is the fragging devil! Apparently I'm his first student, EVER! I wrote it off thinking I could do this. But even though we're getting miles done and I am slowly learning, it's wreaking merry havoc on my mind and body. He'll show me something once, like a backing maneuver they don't teach in school (but maybe they should, I'll suggest when this nightmare is done) then act like I'm supposed to get it out. The first try and if I mess up (which c'mon I'm new and super nervous all the time) half the time he acts like I'm supposed to be a team driver that can do no wrong, will be quick on the draw with EVERYTHING, including break time, then he'll teach me something like he should without yelling. I'm mainly driving at night, usually over mountains, and everything is breakneck pace 10 on, 10 off. He rarely takes the time to give me practice. Just one poorly done attempt and "you ****ed up, move over!" Sometimes I feel like I should just get off the truck and call Prime (not necessarily in that order) tell them this guy is not ready to be a trainer get me someone who can teach! But at the same time, I don't want to have to go through an even worse butthead (curses! I cannot curse properly!) Or worse have to start over again, ugh, because nobody can give me a definitive answer regarding my miles. That's if I can get a word in edgewise. Seriously this guy talks over me constantly, it's almost always a one way conversation. Seriously I'm getting burned out on trucking before I even begin. How should I proceed?!

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

S's Comment
member avatar

Hi Mostly H I'm new also and currently waiting on my trainer with my company. Thats my worst nightmare bout it also getting one who wont teach you. Rainy can tell ya what to do best with this since she's at Prime or one of the others here. Me I'm afraid I would request a new one but like you said....what if Good luck to you

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi and welcome to the TT forum.

Yes, im a trainer at Prime and I had a doozy of a training story...but i dont like harping on the negative. This job is all about attitude so stay positive.

First about your miles....

1.) you can use the phone app to message your FM and ask him for the miles. do this during the week and before 1600 central time. Most FM work 0700 to 1700...monday thru fri. they rotate weekends and holidays. The night dispatchers wont be able to help you. Once solo, your FM will still have your running total miles which will qualify you for paid vacation time. 125,000 for a condo and 85,000 for a lightweight entitles you to a $700 paid vacation.

or

2.) simply add up the miles from your pay checks. The TnT miles started when you started getting paid, and they are PAID team miles for the truck, meaning both drivers miles. If you drove 40 miles out of route to take a shower or park, those miles are not added.

At 10 days, you are probably at 6000 miles depending on whether he put you into a straoght team or had you drive solo a few days to get a feel for your safety level.

As far as burning out and being exhausted and being annoyed with the trainer....yeah, that would happen with your best friend. So hang in there. If you think for one minute that most other trainers are not running their trainees at night and 10 hour shifts with very little off duty on the shift you are wrong. this is how most trainers run. they have their own reasons, some say its to get a student used to nights because it is tiring and you need to adjust. others say its good practice to learn the roads and how to turn and follow directions when you can slow down to read signs without traffic, so.it calms you. But at least you get a schedule.

You arent even two weeks into TnT and will probably finish up by the 7th or 8th week depending on any home or downtime. you can deal with him for that amount of time.

some suggestions: learn the QC and understand the macros. you will learn the numbers over time, but know that you need to.send an arrival when getting to a customer, send a depart when leaving. call into dispatch for when picking up a load etc. learn the procedures. ANYTHING you forget when you go solo will either cause an automatic message to be sent you to or your dispatcher can answer. its not the end of the world.

learn the HOS. get in the habit of reviewing your hours throughout the day. always know how much drive time you have.

Always write down your routing on a note pad and list any parking along the way. NEVER comoletely follow tge GPS. it is a tool, not the bible. you will.be led astray so always know your route.

Watch the Training videos.on the phone app. There are tons of info on any topic you need from setting the reefer , load securement, and sliding tandems.

As far as telling Prime how to teach backing, dont bother. i felt the same way. But truth is, EVERY customer and backing manuever is different. every space, distance, surroundings are different. The main thing is to GOAL and try to understand the angles. you need to gain your own judgement. keep in mind, most drivers dont get backing to click until the 6 month mark, and you will be solo a few months by then. If he is letting you do it, great cause i know trainers who get frustrated then do it for the student. If he does that, then GOAL and watch him back in. at what point where his tandems when he turned? Other trainers stand there "left left right" and without the trainer you cant do it. When you go solo you can practice in empty truck stops to.understand the angles and not feel pressured.

remeber, you can learn what not to do.from a bad trainer, hence.you learn what you should do.

Nervous of Going Solo? Ur not alone

This link will explain what you should be learning in TNT. If you have questions, ask. If your trainer sucks. you are not doomed. When at the terminals, get the phone numbers of experienced drivers who can help you when you go solo. Husband wife teams are great to befriend cause one of them is always rolling. save in your phone which drives what shift. i had 20 ppl i could call 24/7. Many are still my good friends even after 3 years.

Team Training

One of a new drivers major pitfalls is the unrealistic expectations they come to school with. I often hear "we should get holiday pay, i.shouldnt have to work weekends, i want all drop and hooks". Those expectations also pertain to training. We all have an idea of what we want, but what we get is something completely different.

I got NO real mountain training in TnT and was terrified going across WY once solo in the dead of winter. The fact you can say you have been doing it is awesome and you dont know it. When winter comes, you will know those mountains, and its winter in WY and CO already.

Eventually, you will be just borrowing the truck. I told my student the last week "im a ghost. you are running the truck. you cant see me".

Try to tune that guy out when you need to. Take some deep breaths and look at all of this like a puzzle you need to solve. you will have to deal with people yelling at you on the road, especially when backing. you will feel that pressure of trucks around you and people honking. You CAN do this. we all did. hang in there.

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.

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".

Dispatcher:

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.

Fm:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Training is everybody's most conflicted time as they start this career. It never goes the way we think it should. I had a terrible trainer myself. He even showed surprise after two weeks in, because he told me most of his trainees had "broke down crying and quit by the second week." He made life miserable. Guess what? None of that kept me from being a successful trucker, nor will it you, unless you allow it.

Rainy and I both understand how you're feeling, but our advice would be to hang in there and learn what you can while on that trainer's truck. You're going to think you aren't really learning anything, but the exposure you're getting and the difficult drive times are actually shaping you more so than you realize. It's difficult, I understand, but keep at it and realize that you'll continue learning this stuff for the next several years. I had a conversation with a long time driver the other day and he told me, "After 41 years, I still feel I'm in training."

Here's an article I wrote specifically for people in your situation.

What Should I Expect To Learn From My Trainer?

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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