Frustrated And Took A Break (going On 6 Months)

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Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Ronald as its been said the longer you are out of a truck it becomes more likely you'll need to do a refresher course at school.

Michael not every state requires alley dock. I tested in Davenport Iowa where they test straight line, offset and parallell (both driver side). The school i attended didnt even teach us it as most schools teach ONLY the bare minimum to get your CDL. It was quite an awakening to trifecta my test only to get out in the real world and realize i didnt know crap....

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.
Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

At Knight Squire Training in Phoenix Arizona it is a fast paced 2 week program that only teaches you pre-trip inspection , basics of driving on the road/shifting/etc. with 4 students per truck. They only teach Straight line backing, Offset-Left, and Parallel Parking - Right. The rest we are told we will learn out on the road once we have our license and our with our trainer. We are given phrases to remember (Ricky Lakes Staff Loves Reality Sleeze) which tells us to remember our Rights/Lefts/Straights. Then we are on a concrete pad that has cones, cracks and seams that we may use as our landmarks. It's a foolproof way of passing the skills test provided you practice it. None of those landmarks or anything on that skills training pad applies in real life as there is no seams or pizza slices to be looking for in our mirrors for the landing gear. It's literally them guaranteeing you a way to get your CDL if just practice what they show. Here's there videos of their exact pad and maneuvers. Nothing changes it's always like this. They test right on their pad with their own DMV testers of Phoenix, AZ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YULCFVvQTBI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sS9PZTLfyq0

I honestly enjoyed my training and was excited to get on the truck with my trainer. Things were going great until my trainer learned they didn't teach us how to alley dock. He seemed very surprised by it and said he's going to have to talk to them about that. He had been a truck driver for about 1 year with CR England Fontana, CA then took a break for a few years and came over to Knight for 2 years and had been a trainer for a few months but he couldn't stop bragging about himself. Then came time to alley dock and he didn't really want to be bothered showing me how and his only attempt was him hanging off my drivers side door saying, "Right, left, straight, pull up, right." Then since he confirmed with our Terminal manager they in fact don't train us on alley docking he kicked me off his truck and decided to go back to being a solo driver, lol.

So I was supposed to get another trainer but it took Knight 2 weeks to get back to me and in the meantime I started searching for local positions. Well Knight got back to me before one of the local companies got back to me so I went back out with another trainer who was an old timer but very inpatient and we wouldn't GOAL on any backing maneuver. So I felt unsafe and my luck the local company wanted to hire me. So I finished delivering our load with Knight and we took our MT back to a drop yard and I got off his truck and got a ride home.

Started with the local company and I was basically laughed at when it came to alley docking. :( I honestly thought trainers were supposed to help you out with advice and tips but the closest thing I got to help was my first trainer. Everyone else so far has not had any patience or any desire to help point me in the right direction as far as setting it up.

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.

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.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ronald M.'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.

G-Town honestly I'm trying to see where my failures were if I hadn't learned or been taught said alley docking skill. When I'm told I'll learn it out on the road then isn't that the correct expectation to have to learn it out on the road? When I'm not learning it out on the road like I was told due to trainers not wanting to be bothered with you then what am I supposed to do? I'm going to give it another shot and I will learn it one way or another. Just need to get some refresher training it seems or find a company willing to work with me on this. I'll get it just needed to get this off my chest as it's been bothering me for quite awhile now.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Ronald...do you have your CDL?

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.
Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

Okay G-Town you win :). You're right I got my Class A license by avoiding the dreaded Alley docking skill by going to Knight Squire program. I didn't seem to struggle with it at Roadmasters but when I took my DMV test I aced everything except that stupid thing. I practiced over and over and over at Roadmasters till they kicked me off the truck yet when it came time to do that one maneuver at the CA dmv I kept hitting the cone barrier with my tractor on the right. So you're right I have nobody to blame but myself for this. I eventually did get my Class A by avoiding this part of the skill test as not every state tests on that. I thought I'd take Knight up on the offer of learning it out on the road. I have since not had that experience but I guess I'll just go find another school to work with me on it (refresher training).

I guess it's all mental because I failed it when it mattered most (on my CA Dmv test 4 years ago it still haunts me to this day). It took something I had no problem doing in a bus to dreading that manuever in a truck based off my DMV test results. No matter how many times I practiced it at the training pad when it mattered most I kept going over some imaginary barrier on my right (Tractor tires kept going over some barrier)

I'm sorry so yes I guess I couldn't perform the maneuver when it mattered most at the DMV. No body to blame but myself. Time to get out there and find a school/company willing to work with me on this. Thank you all and sorry! :(

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

Ronald...do you have your CDL?

Yes I have had a CDL-B for 7 years prior to getting my CDL-A (knight training program) in March 2018.

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.
Ronald M.'s Comment
member avatar

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.

Team driving is not allowed per Knight Policy during any portion of training. The trainer/trainee is to be awake at all times and the truck is to be treated as it's a Solo operation. This did not happen because I was taken advantage of due to my previous OTR experiences as a charter bus driver. They knew I would drive miles and so we were given miles that could not be done as a solo operation. I didn't complain because I don't like to be that kind of person. I realize it's just like my old tour bus job where I was threatened my job if I didn't do something (sometimes illegal hours). I just need to speak up but I don't like causing waves because I've found that sometimes screws me and I'm not worked for a few days sometimes weeks. Unfortunately that's been my experiences. :( Somehow though the dispatchers at Knight think it's a team operation and it's not. It's clearly plastered all over the papers we sign before hire and even on their site (it's a selling point) that they train as a solo operation with your trainer.

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.

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.

Interstate:

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

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Not trying to win...

If you have your CDL A I’d try to hire-on with any Paid CDL Training Programs tell them the truth and perhaps they will offer some sort of refresher course. What ever you do, waiting isn’t an option because the gap is widening. And my attitude adjustment was nothing more than coming to grips with the fact you must take charge and own this. It’s on you to get this done.

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.
Omar C.'s Comment
member avatar

I went through the Knight Squire program (July 2018) as you did and you are absolutely right they only teach you what you need to pass DOT exam for your CDL. BUT when I was doing those Ricky Lake blah blah things Knight instructor was telling me to do, I was trying to figure out when turning the wheel what the trailer was doing. Like you I was told by my trainer "turn L, turn R and so on. After a few times I noticed the effects of what I was doing and I was interpreting and going over in my head when I was done. NOT every trainer is the same. I know I got lucky, some of my classmates were not. You can practice all day long at one particular place then you go to another facility and it doesn't work you need to adjust your maneuvers.

Teaching you to do an alley dock is almost impossible. Every customer has a different yard, most are crowded and very busy. I've only been out solo for 7 weeks and I can tell you I'm still learning. Yesterday I dropped off a trailer at a customer at the door to get loaded. I've been there before and I can get it in pretty easy MOST of the times, Well not yesterday, I had another truck directly in front of me and it made it difficult for some reason. I kept on it till I got it in straight. I went to another facility and brought over 2 other trailer per my DM's request for future load. I was able to set those in no problem, but the point I'm trying to make is that you can't expect anyone to teach you these things. Every situation is different and yes you will run in to people who don't care that you are learning they are busy, tired or running low on hours and don't want or just can't deal with a newbie. My first week out solo I was going up the 5 and stopped at a truck stop to shut down. I found a spot and was trying to back in, I was tired and nervous as heck. I couldn't for the life of me get straight. I had 2 spots to choose from. Out of nowhere a very frustrated driver who was waiting for me came in and took one of the spots making it ever harder for me. I took a deep breath and continue what I was doing eventually getting in. That first week out was hard, but I got through it without hitting anything but bugs on the windshield.

At the end of my 3rd week out I was given a beer load to San Diego and then to the terminal for some Hometime. the facility was tight and it was a blind approach. I G.O.A.L like 5 times and I couldn't get in my spot. I noticed a driver getting out of his truck and I thought "Oh man did I hit his truck"? I didn't hit anything. He was getting out to give me a hand. He just helped me to get straight enough to pulled forward and put it in the spot. He was from South Carolina a veteran driver of 30 years, we talked for about and hour, I mostly listen to all the advice he was giving me and of course I thanked him for helping me out. He realized I was learning and was nice enough to help.

I don't worry about people around me when I'm backing into a spot. "I'm sorry I'm in your way and I apologise for any delays but I'm new at this" Trust me I want to get to that door to get loaded or unload ASAP. Surely every veteran here remembers back when they had to pull up over and over to get into a spot.

I hope this helps, it's not easy. That's why they say most don't finish a year. I love it and I can see myself driving for years to come.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

That was super helpful Omar and I think your experience has been very much like that of most people, which is exactly the idea that I was trying to get across. You learn by doing in this industry, and for a while it's super tough. There's just no way to really teach someone how to back. No matter how many ways someone tries to describe it to you, it's really not going to help.

I mean, what can anyone really say? Don't oversteer. Don't cut too sharp. Don't hit anything. But how does that help?

There are some things that require a lot of technical skills and knowledge, like flying an airplane or programming computers. There are other things that are just very basic but take a lot of practice to become good at, like throwing a baseball or walking on a tightrope.

Backing up a truck is one of those very basic things that just takes a lot of practice. Tons of repetition is the only real answer to it.

It also helps a ton if you take a little toy truck and practice with it on a table. I did that at truck driving school and the whole class starting doing it. It really helped me visualize how the trailer reacts to the steering inputs of the tractor from a new perspective. It made a huge difference. Give it a shot and I think you'll be surprised at how well that works.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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