Second Week Solo / Shadow Training Is In The Books

Topic 25329 | Page 1

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Chris L's Comment
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Well my second week of Solo driving with my trainer shadowing me is in the books! It has been a long week! The week started early Sunday with my trainer and I driving bobtail from Baldwinsville, NY out to Lafayette Indiana to pick up two spanking brand new 53' Wabash Trailers from the Factory Daw Yard on Monday and what a better way to break in the trailers but to get them loaded up with 42,000 lbs of Paper rolls at the paper mill in Wabash proper.

When we arrived at the paper mill my trainer loaded at one loading dock and I went to the other side of the mill to load up. The first problem I encountered was I could not find the handle to release the locking pins so I could slide the tandems back. The new trailer uses an air system to release the locking pins I got lucky there was another driver waiting to load up and he showed me where the switch was to unlock the pins. That was the easy part getting the tandems to slide back so I could back into the loading dock and get loaded up. The challenge was getting the pins to pop back out when I slid the tandems up.

The trailer frame was coated with rust inhibitor that thick rubbery kind so even though the pins were lined up with the holes they would not pop back out because of that crap. After a bit of convincing I got them to pop out. Then we headed back to Baldwinsville, NY and dropped off the trailers in our yard.

Tuesday, we headed to Auburn, NY and did a drop and hook and picked up two trailers bound for Orangeburg, NY Then it was up to Newburgh, NY for a backhaul of cardboard to Solvay, NY.

Early Thursday morning was a load of beer heading down to Hatfield, PA. Ironically, I had a pallet of Rolling Rock that was brewed and bottled in Baldwinsville, NY and I was bringing it to Pennsylvania (Those of you from Pennsylvania will get the Irony). We got delayed by a traffic accident that shut down the road for an hour and a half which made us miss our scheduled delivery time the guys in the warehouse were cool about it and got us unloaded quick. After that it was a short run up to Cranberry, NJ for another backhaul of cardboard to Solvay, NY which we dropped off Friday morning. Then we picked up a couple of empty trailers and headed to a local paper company to get a loaded up with more paper rolls which we dropped at our yard. That ended our week.

On a whole I'm getting more comfortable driving and my skills are improving I still have some problems backing some days I'm nailing it and other days it's total crap!!! As I do more, I'm getting a little more confident. I'm also still working on my shifting coordination especially down shifting I'm either hitting the brakes too hard or not enough to bring my speed down to the proper speed range to shift to the lower gear. This coming week will be more shadow training so I can continue to smooth out the rough edges.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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".

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Army 's Comment
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Congrats!!

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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My trainer made me use rpm rather than speed. As he said if the rpm is right to downshift, the speed should be as well.

It has worked well for me.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Chris, great report. You might have been a writer in a previous life.

The backing will progress gradually. I know what you mean about good and bad attempts. Backing is very bi-polar for us rookies. It's aggravating when I nail a hard one, then later have trouble with a simple one.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Chris, great report. You might have been a writer in a previous life.

The backing will progress gradually. I know what you mean about good and bad attempts. Backing is very bi-polar for us rookies. It's aggravating when I nail a hard one, then later have trouble with a simple one.

Yep, I still struggle with my setup.

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