FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 10

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Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

That was extreamly nice of you to do.

I was able to do the same thing with people when I was in CDL school and enjoyed the feeling as well. I have thought of getting certified as a trainer but have not yet.

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

I got my first runs this week. Approximately 6 weeks after officially becoming a city driver. Some guys say it normally takes longer at my hub, but it seems that everybody got sick this week. I hope I don't get sick.

I got the call about an hour before my shift start asking if I wanted to take a 100 mile run. I jumped on it.

I got to the hub and realized I don't know what I'm supposed to do, so I went to dispatch. Dispatch broke everything down for me. Where the trailers are and where the tractor is. I received my paperwork and I went out to the yard.

I did a thorough pretrip on my tractor and dolly and I was off to find my tail. I found it and in my head, knowing my current skill level I felt it was too tight for me to line up a trailer in front of it. I decided to pull my tail trailer and drop it an open area. I went back to get my dolly and I had no issues lining up tire to rail (Thanks Bob). Now I had to grab my lead trailer. It took me a little while to find it and by the time I got back the yard dogs flooded my open area with trailers. It looked like the spot I was trying to avoid earlier. I decided to just try and hook there. I wasn't as rusty as I thought and I was able to line it up after a handful of pullups.

Once I was hooked it was time for a complete pretrip. I was taught to open the valves in the rear trailer to make sure air is traveling all the way to the back. I go to the back and no air. I spent about 15 minutes checking all of my connections before I realize that I never turned the valve to supply air to the dolly. Now we have air in the back.

Once I was done another driver came over and says "hey, dispatch told me it's your first run. How you making out?". I told him I was good. All hooked up and ready to roll. He offered to look everything over and I accepted. He offered tips like counting the connections, this way you don't do something silly like forget to supply air to your dolly. He told me not to feel discouraged and that everybody struggles to start. "Soon you'll be hooking a set in 15 minutes and you won't believe it used to take you an hour".

It took me about an hour and a half from grabbing my tractor to ready to go. I got paid for 30 minutes of it.

I got to the terminal and realized I don't know what to do now. So, I went to the first supervisor I could find. He told me the handheld should tell me where to drop the trailers. I forgot to take a handheld. He looked it up and told me to drop them in a lane because they're there for pick up, not sorting. He also told me that I had to call Central to let them know I arrived because I didn't have a handheld. I went outside and I realized I don't know where the lane is. I stopped a yard dog and asked him. I told him it's my first time there and he told me to drop the rear trailer so he can pick it up and to follow him. Once I dropped the trailers I clocked in for dock duty.

About 3 hours later, it was time to leave. I went to dispatch and he told me I was taking back 2 empties and the set was already hooked. All I had to do was hook my tractor and do a pretrip. I got back to domicile, dropped my trailers and that was my night.

I got the same run the next night and it went a lot smoother. Both of my trailers went to doors. I knew that because I remembered to grab a handheld. No issues bumping the door and the yard jockey took my tail to drop it at it's assigned door. I worked the dock for 4 hours.

On the return trip I had a loaded trailer and an empty. I had to hook these up. It's an assigned trailer and any empty trailer. I went to the empties and backed my dolly up. I dropped it at whatever's trailer it landed at. I went to grab my lead and I hooked my set. As I'm pulling out, I realize the trailer next to my tail isn't straight and I'm getting pretty close to it. Another driver pulled up next to be and said "you're new". I asked what gave it away and he says "you picked a middle trailer. You always pick a trailer on the end or with a clear spot next to it." He told me not to attempt it. He went and got a yard jockey to move to the other trailer. I was able to pull out without issue and head home.

It wasn't bad and I learned a lot of lessons. People we're very helpful with these new experiences and I'm better than I was last week.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Great update, Banks!

We learn more every day.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I've been running all week. Some people quit and I've been getting there runs since there's nobody else available. It's been the same 100 mile run everyday, but my hooking and dropping has gotten a lot faster and I've gotten more efficient.

I went in last night and when I logged into the ELD it said "no drive time available". Liar!

I went to the office and the ops manager logged in to my log to take a look. I signed off on the ELD, but not the handheld that handles my work assignments. It was acting up and after a 13 hour workday, I gave up trying to fix it. I pulled out the battery hit reset and went home. I never ended my workday. The ops manager was able to edit my log and I got my hours back. He ended my day at the time I signed out of the ELD.

Here's what I learned: I have to keep tabs on my log. At the end of my work day, I have to log in to it on my phone and make sure my status is off duty. I'm not efficient enough to waste time in the office and I'm responsible for my logs.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like a good learning opportunity....keep at it.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Keep up the great work, hopefully you're not too far out from having your own scheduled run.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Oh boy, a new run, the stuff noobs dream about!

Dispatch calls me and says same run earlier start time. "I want you to finish early on a Saturday". What a coincidence lol.

Then I get call that says they messed up and the earlier time is not available for my usual run, but they have an earlier one to a different hub. I wanted to try a new one and earlier is what I want, I'm all in. I get my start time and tractor details.

I went in a little early to pretrip, hook my set and pick brains. I asked somebody for the scoop on this run and he gave me directions with the points of caution. Pulled up a satellite view and he says "watch this curve at this exit. Be careful here they're doing construction and the road isn't even. At this point make sure you stay on the local side, very important. Also, be careful because it's tight. It's like going through a toll booth that's 3 miles long. If you have any questions call me". Another number for the contacts list.

I hook up in 45 and off I go. The entire drive was exactly as described and I knew what to look for along the way. I didn't get lost until I got there. This place was huge. My not so trusty handheld didn't tell me where to drop my trailers so I went into dispatch and he told me to store them along the Northwest fence. I don't know what that means and he pulls out a map. This place was so big, they had a map. I take off to the fence and realize I don't have enough space to break my set down. I see a driver and I flag him down and ask where can I break my set? He said parking lot AA. I know what means because I have a map. I go over to AA break my set and drop my trailers along the Northwest fence. I head back to dispatch to see what I'm talking back and he says a 53 foot intermodal. First time pulling one of those and I'm mad I have to leave my dolly. It took me a little while to get hooked because I couldn't remember how to slide my fifth wheel back. I waited until I saw another kenworth with an intermodal attached to ask. He showed me how to do it and I was set to hook.

I hook up and I see that I have 3 hours left on my clock. I know I can make it back in 2 and change, but I decide to take my 30 at the hub because I don't want to hit traffic and run out of time. After my 30 I had back home and drop my trailer. No traffic so it took me about 2 and a half hours . I'll take a 7 hour night to end the week.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Nice! It seems like you're getting some lucky breaks Banks. I fully expected you to not be driving as much as you are. Keep up the good work. I like how you're preparing yourself with good information before you just take off into the unknown. That's good stuff. Solid planning is much more likely to produce solid results.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Nice! It seems like you're getting some lucky breaks Banks. I fully expected you to not be driving as much as you are. Keep up the good work. I like how you're preparing yourself with good information before you just take off into the unknown. That's good stuff. Solid planning is much more likely to produce solid results.

I'm surprised too. I took a night shift knowing that I had a better chance of driving than I would on a day shift. I was right.

I try to plan ahead as much as possible. It's something I learned from my time here on trucking truth.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Keep up the great work, hopefully you're not too far out from having your own scheduled run.

Thanks Rob! I'm very far from having my own assignment, but I'm ok with bouncing around for right now.

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