FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 13

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PackRat's Comment
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Definitely! As you've experienced, some days really suck. It's funny later on when you'll look back and laugh at some of these challenges. "Remember that place that it took me an hour to get backed in?", or "The time the traffic was so bad, it took 2 hours to go 4 miles?".

Learning plus making memories.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

I woke up on Saturday morning my phone ringing and the screen saying "work". I answer and the voice on the other end says "hey, sorry to bother you. I know you didn't volunteer for this weekend but we're backed up because of the snow storm. Can you take a trailer to Providence, drop it, grab an empty trailer take it to Elizabeth New Jersey, pick up a loaded trailer there and bring it here? " I wanted to say no because I've been running all week and I was exhausted, but I said "no problem". I asked what time do I get there and they said whenever you Want, we don't have a set schedule it just has to be there by Sunday night. Fair enough.

About an hour later my phone rings again and it's work. Change of plans Elizabeth, NJ got scrapped. Just go to Providence and come back. My rings again an hour later. "would you be willing to take a set to Northborogh, MA so we can give the single to somebody with less experience? Same deal, whenever you want, they just have to be there by Sunday night". I agree and ask them to leave me directions to avoid that whole New Haven debacle I went through on Thanksgiving.

I went in Saturday night because I didn't want to deal with Connecticut traffic. It took me about 45 minutes to find my trailers, hook-up and pretrip. It was about a 5 hour drive to Northborogh. The bad part about this is that I'm going to a center I've never been to before and there's nobody there to give me any direction. I don't know where to drop my trailers or where to find the empties that I need to bring back. I have to wing it. I drop the trailers in some random spots and put random info in the handheld because I don't know where I dropped them. Some hubs have signs where the trailers are parked so you know what line you're dropping in, this one didn't.

I start looking for empties and I can't find any. I'm opening and closing every trailer that doesn't have a seal and they all have freight in them. I called Central dispatch to tell them I can't find any empty trailers to take back. They read off a bunch of trailer numbers and tell me to look for 2 of those. I looked and couldn't find them. I called back and told them those trailers are nowhere to be found and they amend my assignment to have me bobtail back.

Bobtailing back felt weird. It feels like I'm driving a small vehicle. I left Massachusetts with 6 hours of drive time on my clock. I've gotten a lot better at managing drive time. I made it back to domicile with a little over an hour left.

The entire trip was 560 miles and it all took a little over 12 hours.

Bobtail:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Really aggravating having to open trailers and hope they are empty.l, I've walked our entire Chicago yard looking for 2 of the 3 empties that are supposedly there but never found them so they also had me bobtail.

Sometimes you have to guess where to park things and hope for the best.

Sounds like you are getting the hang of it though!

Bobtail:

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

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Really aggravating having to open trailers and hope they are empty.l, I've walked our entire Chicago yard looking for 2 of the 3 empties that are supposedly there but never found them so they also had me bobtail.

Sometimes you have to guess where to park things and hope for the best.

Sounds like you are getting the hang of it though!

Especially when the temperature is in the single digits lol.

During the week, I have people I can call but I don't want to bother anybody on their day off, especially at night.

It was a long week and I'm not used to running like this so it did take a little bit of a toll on me. A lot of 12 hour work days followed by life at home.

I was a little flattered that they think enough of me to offer me something they deem more challenging. It shows their confidence in me and it tells me I'm doing something right.

Bobtail:

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

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

They are starting to trust you, or they are getting desperate lol

My first few times having 12+ hour days where difficult they do get easier once you've done a few of them.

If you can get on days at some point or at least like my 1:45 AM start it makes a huge difference with how tired I am. With my 9:30 PM start I was extremely tired no matter how much time I slept, funny how staring a few hours later can make such a big difference.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

They are starting to trust you, or they are getting desperate lol

My first few times having 12+ hour days where difficult they do get easier once you've done a few of them.

If you can get on days at some point or at least like my 1:45 AM start it makes a huge difference with how tired I am. With my 9:30 PM start I was extremely tired no matter how much time I slept, funny how staring a few hours later can make such a big difference.

I think it's a bit of both, honestly. We shut down for 2 days because of the weather and highway restrictions so I can see the desperation. The volunteer work has no set schedule. I can come in and do it at any time as long as it's there by Sunday night, but in order for me to get paid on Friday it has to be started before Sunday. My normal start time is 2AM dock work and I get sent out from there. In order to get paid for the run ASAP, I start at 11 pm Saturday night so it throws off my sleep pattern a little bit. Because of the holiday week, all of the senior drivers signed up for the voluntary runs so I'm expecting to sit this weekend out.

Speaking about seniority, I got my first taste of being in a seniority position this week. I was called in to road dispatch because they had a run to Albany. I let another driver with an earlier start time take it since I would have more hours when other runs Pop up. I spoke to a more experienced driver and he said going to Albany in snowy weather sucks and its better that I didn't take it due to me not being experienced in the snow. He said his general rule of thumb is if it's snowing avoid going north.

Shortly after the driver that was going to Albany walked in and said he couldn't take it because he was out of hours. When they offered it to me, I passed. Later in the night multiple runs popped up and they called us all into dispatch. They said we're all going out so they asked who has the most seniority. That would be me and I got to choose the run I wanted. My options were South New Jersey, Elizabeth, NJ, Newark, NJ or Syracuse. I didn't want to deal with the traffic going east and I took the advice of the experienced driver and avoided going north. I had a smooth 130 mile trip to South New Jersey and a smooth drive back.

My driver review is coming up soon. All new drivers have to be reviewed a few months after hire to make sure they're safe and efficient. If they're having issues they will undergo more training. I hope mine goes well.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations!! Sounds like your moving right up the ladder! I’m sure your review go well. Quick question for you. How did you get into the Fedex driver program. I’m probably just going to do the company training but I’m still exploring all the different avenues into trucking and didn't see anything about that program on the Fedex site in the career section. Is it something they only offer to current employees?

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations!! Sounds like your moving right up the ladder! I’m sure your review go well. Quick question for you. How did you get into the Fedex driver program. I’m probably just going to do the company training but I’m still exploring all the different avenues into trucking and didn't see anything about that program on the Fedex site in the career section. Is it something they only offer to current employees?

No, I got hired off of the street. The position I was hired for was driver apprentice. They don't hire all of the time, it's as needed. For example my hub has a need for 80 city drivers, once they have those 80 city drivers they stop hiring.

I applied for the position shortly after my ride along with G-Town and they were set to hire me, but when my driving record came back they said to wait another year. That year turned into 18 months because at the year mark, they weren't hiring. I checked everyday for the position to post and when it was finally there, I applied.

If you decide to go through FedEx, have your permit before applying. Chances are they won't reply if you don't at least have your permit. They will hire you with general knowledge, air brakes and combination, but they will require you to get your tanker, hazmat and doubles triples endorsement before you start the program.

Check regularly because it comes down as quickly as it goes up. Current employees get first dibs, so the spots open to the public are kind of first come first serve. Get your permit and have it handy so you can apply as soon as the position opens up. Good luck, Dave.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

Thank you Banks, Just figured I would ask cause the Philly Fedex and UPS centers are only 20 mins from me. I’ll keep a look out for it but I cant wait around too long for it to pop up. After I get my permit in January I’ll apply for it if its there. If not, off to one of the big carriers I will go

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Thank you Banks, Just figured I would ask cause the Philly Fedex and UPS centers are only 20 mins from me. I’ll keep a look out for it but I cant wait around too long for it to pop up. After I get my permit in January I’ll apply for it if its there. If not, off to one of the big carriers I will go

That's understandable. I'm looking forward to following your journey.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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