FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 2

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Pete M.'s Comment
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FedEx has advertised this driver apprentice job in Pittsburgh area.

Banks's Comment
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FedEx has advertised this driver apprentice job in Pittsburgh area.

It's getting harder for them to keep people in seats. 10 years ago you had to work the dock for a while to qualify for this program and now they hire off the street. I think it has to do with not getting the instant gratification of immediately going through the program and getting a city driver offer. People failing drug tests is also a problem.

In the North guys are retiring or transferring down south to warmer climates.

If you guys n gals have any questions post them and I'll do my best to answer them or get answers for them. It's a lot of information taken in at once so I may miss some things.

Banks's Comment
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Day 5

We started out the day with a hypothetical work day paper log. From there we went down to our tractor to do a quick overview of it. We then coupled it to a trailer to do a complete pretrip of 1 unit, the way it'll be done on the state exam. The air break test is frustrating because I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, I just mess up some terminology. That will cause a fail on the state test.

We continued on to more backing skills. I was able to get the parallel park, blind side parallel park and blind side 45 done within a couple of hours. A weight has been lifted off of my shoulders because I'm no longer in danger of flunking out. After lunch I practiced my shifting around the yard. My downshifting has gotten a lot better. We played a game called a**hole in the street where I shift down really quick in a short amount of time. It actually helped me a lot.

At the end of the day I learned how to slide tandems , slide a fifth wheel and how to secure intermodal trailers.

I'm very happy with my progress. I'm learning to slow down and think before my car instincts take over. I think I'm swinging too far to the tractor side because now when I start my car I'm reaching for the clutch.

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".

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.

G-Town's Comment
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Banks this is great! Happy for you Man.

Be safe and “watch your wagon”.

Banks's Comment
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Banks this is great! Happy for you Man.

Be safe and “watch your wagon”.

Thanks G-Town. I came to the realization that OTR isn't in the cards for me right now. This is the next best option and it's not a bad option at all. FedEx offers a lot and there's room to do other things if I decide to do that.

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.

Banks's Comment
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Day 6

Started the day with the usual daily log. After that I learned about weight on axles and we discussed where I want to be when I'm turning.

We went out and I killed my pretrip. I knew where everything was and what to say when I'm checking it. Then I nullified all of that by killing my air brake test. I went straight to the 5 tugs instead of charging the system etc. I have to slow down and think before I act.

On to clutch work. My clutching has drastically improved. I'm able to shift up and quickly shift down. I missed some gears here and there, there was some grinding but no stall outs and no coasting.

I forgot how to parallel park. Total blank when it was time to freshen up on skills. I'm going to have to do it some more so it's embedded in my brain.

My end of the day progress report listed an unsatisfactory brake test and unsatisfactory dropping because I didn't drop the tractor when uncoupling. I let the trailer fall. Not bad considering a week ago I couldn't name any engine components and I've never shifted a 10 speed before.

Banks's Comment
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Day 7

Started out with daily logs. Difference today was I had to use to a bill of laden instead of a hypothetical work day.

Went out to the yard and I did my pretrip. I failed my instructor's pretrip, but he said it would absolutely pass state.

After pretrip I had to do the backing skills required by the state over and over. State allows two pull ups, but today I was only allowed one. I was successful 90% of the time. I'm pretty confident it would've been 100 with 2 pull ups.

After lunch I had to bump docks. Way more stressful than backing into cones. So many pull ups, but I didn't hit anything or put any new holes in my trailer. Then it was time to drive around and shift.

We then went around the lot and I saw all the different types of tractors and straight trucks that FedEx has. Volvo is probably my favorite so far.

Heading back to the office my instructor told me we can start having fun now. He's confident that I can pass my pretrip and skills test and all we have to do is keep refreshing them. He said he was sorry for being a d**k last week, but he needed to me to understand what was on the line here. A failure for me is a failure for him and he doesn't want that on him.

I did my post trip and successfully dropped my trailer without actually dropping it. My progress report was completely clean. I've cleaned up my issues and I'm ready for public roads. Yes, 2 weeks in and I still haven't touched pavement that doesn't belong to FedEx. Tomorrow is the end of my work week so I probably won't go out until Monday.

Craig L.'s Comment
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FedEx has advertised this driver apprentice job in Pittsburgh area.

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It's getting harder for them to keep people in seats. 10 years ago you had to work the dock for a while to qualify for this program and now they hire off the street. I think it has to do with not getting the instant gratification of immediately going through the program and getting a city driver offer. People failing drug tests is also a problem.

In the North guys are retiring or transferring down south to warmer climates.

If you guys n gals have any questions post them and I'll do my best to answer them or get answers for them. It's a lot of information taken in at once so I may miss some things.

Yeah that how my buddy got in. I haven't seen anything down here though in my area yet.

Banks's Comment
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Day 8

I feel today was a waste. I could've been out learning some new things. Instead I spent it doing 90 degree alley docks, parallel parking and doing offsets. I don't agree with this policy that FedEx has that States a remedial week has to be an entire week and spent on the yard. I would've been fine with 2 remedial days.

After lunch, I learned how to hook a dolly and I tried backing one up to a trailer. Those things are really temperamental. A little touch of the steering wheel and they're bouncing all over the place. They're also dangerous because if you lose them, they can cause a lot of damage to a tractor.

I called it a day an hour and a half early and went home. Next week brings new challenges.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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You cannot have too much practice at backing. It may be frustrating, and it may seem pointless to you, but it’s a fact.

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