FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 14

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Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Have you guys been busy??

We are extremely busy, they even called and asked me to work Sunday so I did so I can help them out some.

Banks's Comment
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Have you guys been busy??

We are extremely busy, they even called and asked me to work Sunday so I did so I can help them out some.

It's been fluctuating a lot so I can't really say. One day we'll all get sent out and the dock workers will get OT and the next the dock workers get kicked out early and drivers work the dock to get their hours.

Same with weekend work. Some weekends I'll get called in and others I won't.

I'm not completely familiar with all the lanes we run, but from what I hear this fluctuation is normal for a hub like mine while an area like Chicago or Atlanta is always busy.

Auggie69's Comment
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Ask before you leave your center if they can assign you empties to bring back. Central once told me that they DON'T have a list of empties. That was BS ( I was told later on). They actually wanted me to pull trailers from the doors to see if they were empty. Ah, no.

When you get to a center you've never been to and everyone has gone home, just drop the trailers where convenient and enter ZZ into the handheld for their location. That's if they've not been assigned doors before you get there. I actually griped about this the other day; that centers do not have similar naming scheme for their drop lots. So when you do go to another center you have no idea where lot AA or lot 1801 is.

If you do get a run on a Saturday morning that is not a meet or a hot, call Central and ask if you can run it Sunday if you'd like. Central told me to do this :) Obviously, if you're covering a run for a regular driver this probably won't work :)

Banks's Comment
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Ask before you leave your center if they can assign you empties to bring back

They can assign me specific empties? I forgot know that.

They actually wanted me to pull trailers from the doors to see if they were empty.

I wouldn't do that either.

When you get to a center you've never been to and everyone has gone home, just drop the trailers where convenient and enter ZZ into the handheld for their location.

I didn't know that either. I would just do my best to guess what line it was.

If you do get a run on a Saturday morning that is not a meet or a hot, call Central and ask if you can run it Sunday if you'd like. 

For voluntary weekend runs they ask when do I plan on taking it. I try to start the run before Sunday so that it goes on my next check and I don't have to wait 2 weeks for it.

Auggie69's Comment
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Ask before you leave your center if they can assign you empties to bring back

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They can assign me specific empties? I forgot know that.

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They actually wanted me to pull trailers from the doors to see if they were empty.

double-quotes-end.png

I wouldn't do that either.

double-quotes-start.png

When you get to a center you've never been to and everyone has gone home, just drop the trailers where convenient and enter ZZ into the handheld for their location.

double-quotes-end.png

I didn't know that either. I would just do my best to guess what line it was.

double-quotes-start.png

If you do get a run on a Saturday morning that is not a meet or a hot, call Central and ask if you can run it Sunday if you'd like. 

double-quotes-end.png

For voluntary weekend runs they ask when do I plan on taking it. I try to start the run before Sunday so that it goes on my next check and I don't have to wait 2 weeks for it.

IRT dropping the trailers: when first starting out, looking for where to drop and what empties to get are huge consumers of time. It could mean the difference between a great run with a so-so run. If you don't get a door assignment, just drop them in front of a line somewhere. They'll stick out and the next day crew knows they need to go to a door. Just mark ZZ on the bill manifest and in the handheld and drop the paperwork at dispatch. The hostlers will then know to search the yard for where the newbee dropped the trailer :) Once you get familiar with the centers and know where they drop you won't have to do this. Another thing is, when you do go to a new center go to dispatch (closed or not) and check out their billboards and stuff. A lot of times you'll see this info posted. And if someone is there, just ask :)

This job is a constant learning experience. I saw a road driver today at our center backing to his tail. He had dropped his tail and was maneuvering his lead and attached dolly to his new tail. I watched him for a bit. He finally was able to do it but it's something I could not hope to do as a time saver anytime in the near future. Besides, I think FXF frowns on doing this ;)

Manifest:

Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
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Anything fun happening?

Banks's Comment
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Anything fun happening?

I've been turning down runs for numerous reasons ranging from the weather to issues at home that require me to be done by a certain time.

I did have my driver review and it was done by my trainer which added some pressure. His expectations are way up there and I knew he would call me out if I did something he didn't teach me. I've received lots of tips from lots of people. I take what works, discard what doesn't and make my own way. Some of what I do, he may not agree with.

The night started out with an explanation of expectations. Part 1) Is the driver in full and proper uniform? I was not. It's cold out and the dock is colder so I dress warm. I do keep a uniform in my car in case I get sent out so I had to go grab it and change my clothes.

We went out into the parking lot and he said I can grab any tractor I want as long as somebody isn't going to come looking for it while we're out. I grabbed a kenworth autoshifter. He didn't say anything but I could tell he was hoping I grabbed a manual. I thought about doing that, but the kenworth is what I'm used to and it's in my comfort zone. I'm ok with going out of my comfort zone, but I didn't want to miss a gear or do something else that would cause me to fail. I went the safe route.

Once I had my tractor, I pretripped it and I went to grab a dolly. Luckily, there were newer dollies available in like new condition. That's not the norm because the senior guys usually grab those. Before dropping it in front of an empty trailer, I got out to make sure the trailer was empty. After dropping it, I went to hook up to my lead. I go to pull it forward and it drags.

I think "crap did I forget to supply air?" No, I didn't. The brakes were frozen and I learned something new. My instructor told me to open the air valves at the rear of the trailer let all the air out. I had to fill the tank and empty it at least 5 times and then the wheels started moving. I'm glad that happened while he was there and not while I was on my own.

I lined up the trailers and began to back up. I stopped to hook up my dolly. I hook up the pintle eye and chains and start making my way to the tractor. He calls me can and asks "what are you missing?". I really have no idea and he asks "why are you not supplying air to your dolly? When did we start taking shortcuts? "

In my defense, the period between the time I finished the program to when I was driving was vast. You're going to forget some things when you're not constantly and consistently doing it. I supplied air to the dolly and hooked my set. I pretripped it and we were off.

We went out on a 50 mile run that consisted of numerous turns, local driving and highway driving. That part was very smooth. I caught all my signs, maintained my speed and stopped before the line Everytime. I had to do an emergency pullover and answer a bunch of questions, reminiscent of the state test, just a lot more questions.

Back at the terminal he told me to drop my rear trailer and dolly. Then he told me to take my lead and back it into a door, any door. As I'm driving passed a door he says "that one". I wasn't ready and had to back in at a 45 degree angle because I wasn't able to set myself up for a straight back. I back it in, use one pull-up and bump the door. He says "your backing got a lot better. Your setup was sh*t, but you made the right adjustments and did the proper pull-up. Good job". I said my setup would've been better, but I thought I was picking the door. That was a random pick I wasn't ready for.

I drop my empty and park the tractor. Back in the office he says "congratulations you passed. You did a lot better than when I left you, but don't start picking up the habits of people around you. That'll only lead you to problems you don't want." Now I'm officially completely done with all tests and training, unless I mess up somewhere along the line.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Congratulations! Well done Banks!

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Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Congratulations on passing!

I've never heard about draining the air out the back trailer before, I'll have to keep that in mind. Usually rocking the trailer back and forth will free them or crawling under the trailer and hitting the brake drums with a hammer.

I hook multiple sets a day and have forgotten to supply air once or twice.

When do you guys supply air to the dolly? Before or after you hook the rear?

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Dumping the air multiple times is to clear out as much excess moisture to help prevent the accumulation freezing within the brake system?

Congratulations and well done, Banks! We knew you could pass with flying colors.

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