Frustrated And Took A Break (going On 6 Months)

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Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

I took a break from trucking after being frustrated with no one having any patience to train alley docking. I ended up going to Knight Squire program but they only taught us enough to pass the skills test and they didn't teach us how to alley dock. Yep, still that dreaded alley dock. My first trainer at Knight was just telling me left, right, left, pull forward, back up, right and I explained to him that I'm not learning anything with you telling me which way to turn the wheel as you won't be there when I'm on my own. The next trainer was in hurry up mode and was ****ed off when I GOAL that he just took over and backed up for me. :(

At the time I was dealing with my girlfriends (yes that's plural) fighting back at home and that was on my mind a lot as I wanted to come home to settle things down which is why I looked for local companies. Got a job with MVE but that training experience was even more terrible than all the others combined.

Basically, he said I have a Class A and this is something I should already know how to do. I explained to him our training program did not and he said it wasn't his problem and it wasn't his place to train me on that. Needless to say that day got worse and he just made me feel like the most incompetent truck driver out there.

It's fun trying to back up a truck when a trainer is saying, "Oh my god, what are you doing you're so lucky there wasn't a truck on the left or right of you while backing in that dock." Hell I'm surprised I got it in the dock with him talking all crap. None of that stuff he was saying helps and I told him so. I eventually just let his butt back up the truck the remaining of the day. Then we got back to the yard and he left me alone and told me he's going in the office to turn paperwork in and to back it up on my own in another dock. Boy that's fun when you're causing a traffic jam of other company trucks and other drivers coming right in front and being an audience not helping in any way as you're trying to alley dock in a yard with no help on your first day on the job. I was way to stressed after that whole day that I just left on the spot. I told him I'm in over my head and for him to back it up I quit. I didn't last 1 day at MVE and I'm extremely frustrated with myself.

I just need one patient trainer out there to give me the basics of how to line up and do that stuff. We were supposed to learn this stuff out on the road with Knight but it seems like no one wants to be bothered training. That being said I need a truck to practice in then if I'm to learn this properly. Should I go back to school? Or do you think there is a patient trainer out there somewhere when I decide to get back into trucking next year?

I'm going to be calling all the company recruiters and make it clear what I need to learn with my trainer first before I even start asking about the other cpm questions. If no company wants to work with me on that then I guess I'll have to pony up more cash and go to school to learn the basics of this. :(

I'm currently a stay at home dad to my 2 1/2 year old daughter but I realize the longer I keep staying at home the more unemployable I'll make myself as it's harder to find jobs when you have a big gap in your history (going on 6 months now). I'm never going to be able to own a house if I keep my situation the same. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make this work provided I have a willing trainer to just point me in the right direction and then practice practice practice! Unfortunately I have not had that training yet which I feel is really stressing me out way more than is necessary. I mean I can straight line back and offset back no problem but a tight 90 degree alley or 45 degree training I have been confronted with but I can't learn when you tell me turn right, now left, now right.

I totally get why I'm turning right and left as that changes the direction of my trailer but I need help with the initial setup and then it's just a matter of steering the trailer in the dock with corrections in direction of turning the wheel. No one has told me line yourself up with this line and now go hard right and when your shoulder gets to the middle of the lane hard left and now pull all the way up until the rear of your trailer is just passed the spot you want to back up in (I've learned this all through watching youtube videos now as I'm being more proactive about it rather than depending on some trainer to help me).

Unless this is just something I'm expected to learn on my own and no one wants to be bothered teaching anyone how to do it? I thought that was the point of training though. I guess I may have no other choice but to go back to Knight although my experiences with trainers there have not been the best. :(

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Unless this is just something I'm expected to learn on my own

You've got it! That's it. That's exactly what we're all going to tell you. You just have to get out there and do it. That's how you learn backing. You said so yourself - all of these people trying to help you back up by telling you what to do didn't help at all. Of course it won't.

So the question is, what do you think they can do for you? What is it that needs to be taught?

Really what you need is to just keep doing it until you get it. You have to learn how to interpret the angles you're seeing and learn how the truck is going to react to your steering inputs. You learn both of those by doing, not by someone explaining it.

It's kind of like throwing a baseball. All anyone can do is tell you a few basics techniques, and then you have to do it 1,000 times so that your body and mind can learn those movements.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

Then I just need a patient trainer I guess instead of being made to feel bad because I can't get it 1 shot like they can. I see these youtube videos though of trainers helping their students by giving them advice on how to line up and do stuff I haven't even got anything close to that except someone hanging off the edge of my drivers side mirror going right left right no explaining. Ahh well I just need to find a company then that will hire me after having 8 months off when I go back next year.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

There are indeed patient trainers out there who will gladly teach you to alley dock but I will throw this out there .. some trainers, if they feel you aren't paying attention or genuinely trying to learn, they'll want to give up on you as they feel like they're wasting their time.

Then you have to the ones who just want a warm body behind the steering wheel to turn more miles. I truly hope those are the minority.

The problem you'll run into is that your CDL , certificate of training, and skills, are stale after 6+ months out of a truck. Some companies may want you to go through school again because of this, and yet others will just decline to take you on. My company accepts drivers with stale CDLs and certificates of training, but California isn't in our hiring area at all.

You could try Knight again, or probably Swift, I'm just not sure based on your domicile.

Try our one and done application and see what offers you receive.

We're all here to help you get back into this and I'm sure others will have good recommendations also.

Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

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.

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.

Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

My experience so far with Knight trainers was I was just a warm body for extra miles. First trainer decided he didn't want to be a trainer anymore and got out of training me then I was left wondering if I had a job with Knight but took them 2 weeks to get back to me with another trainer and during that time I had applied to other companies around my area and that's when a local company hired me on the spot, lol. I've definitely learned that I need to speak up more to my DDM's about my trainers using me as a warm body while we team drive as that was a big NO NO at Knight but it happened twice! I just don't like to be an employee that snitches or causes problems. I'm used to driving extremely long distances in varying weather and times as I came from a Class B Tour Bus Driver for 7 years so that wasn't a problem.

Dm:

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.

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.

Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

The thing that I only regret saying was when the trainers asked me what kind of experience do I have. I'm tempted to lie to them and say none! I was honest and it got me taken advantage of twice because they knew I could push myself and make them lots of extra $$$. Honestly the driving long distances was easy for me we basically team drove and that's not supposed to happen at all in any part of training with Knight but I guess they don't know and don't really care. That's the attitude I got from the Dispatchers. :\ All's they cared about was getting the load their on time and they didn't care how we did it. On their website though it clearly states training is done as what it would be like as a Solo Driver. That definitely was not my experience.

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Before you go too much further Ronald; you are in serious need of an attitude adjustment.

I have read all your posts; take some responsibility for your failures and shortcomings. It seems to be all Knight’s fault...experience has taught all of us on this forum, it’s almost never the case.

Find a company willing to retrain you, or rengage with Knight. Be totally honest with your skills and where you need work.

Practice and repetition is what you need, NOT hand-holding.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Ronald, I have written descriptions about how to do an Alley Dock twice - in two different ways - on the forum here. Use the search box up at the top and search for "Alley Dock". You'll get several viewpoints on it.

As Brett emphasized, learning any move in a truck is all on you - you need to learn the motor skills, and how to read the trailer as it bends.

You should find a trainer that is interested in training instead of "slave labor" and extra miles. However, I wouldn't make such a request with the training scheduler - trainers should be more interested in teaching than getting free miles. The trainer has that job because they are supposed to get new drivers up to speed for their company. If a trainer asks how much you know, just say "I need more practice in alley docking".

Lastly, you seem to have a dim view of team driving with a trainer. You say driving long distances is easy. So do you need training while you are sitting in the driver seat and holding the steering wheel? Your trainer expects you to handle the Interstate part easily. They should then be available at terminals and shippers/ receivers to watch and train you in the backing maneuvers that are hard for most people. Team driving with a trainer is the best way to get the rough edges of your newly learned abilities smoothed out.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

Chuck S.'s Comment
member avatar

Ronald M. many can share what you are going through, esp. me.

Don't get so frustrated you can't think, it's not helping you.

I know you are not driving / training now, FYI the longer you stay out is going to determine if a company is going to make you go thru the entire training process all over again.

You mentioned working with Knight, and I'm not sure how long you trained or if you passed their program. Knight in the past would work with drivers to finish their training, not sure if that policy has changed, but you could ask.

I trained a number of drivers from a variety of experience, some with as much as a year of driving on their own.

It all comes down to your drive test at hiring with most companies. This is when it's determined if you have the skills to go on your own or if you need more training.

Some things you can work on until you do decide to get back behind the wheel is imagining in your head what is happening to your truck when you are backing it up.

Just think about it ... buy a small toy tractor/trailer and play with it.... use your imagination.

Good luck

Don't beat yourself up over this, you can do this

Michael B.'s Comment
member avatar

I am confused by your comment "they only taught us enough to pass the skills test and they didn't teach us how to alley dock." If you have a CDL you went to a DOT test site to do your pre-trip, skills test and driving test to get that CDL right? The alley dock is a part of that skills test. Everyone does stright line backing then you are randomly chosen 2 out of 3 choices between offset (blindside or sightside), parallel (blindside or sightside) and alley-dock. How did you go to your CDL test without knowing how to do an alley-dock at all? If you had drawn alley-dock as one of your three skills you wouldnt even have your CDL. If you were right and they taught you just enough to pass your skills test then alley-dock is one of those skills! Right? Your trainer can tell you how to set up and when and in what direction to turn your wheel etc. but it is up to you to remember what position you are in when you are told these things and remember them so that you can repeat these things when you are backing next time. Dont just do what you are told on auto pilot. When you are told to turn the wheel and when to cut the trailer etc. those are the directions you need to remember so you can repeat them later on. In the real world there is no clear cut set-up or line to pull up to. Often times the lots are small or odd shaped and you have to wing it and yes, no matter what you are told there are times when you will have to do a blind-side alley-dock!!! If you were never taught that skill you should either rent a truck to practice or better yet go to a sponsored training school where they are paid to teach you the basic skills...including alley-dock. Then repetition, repetition, repetition!!!

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.

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

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