FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 3

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Rob T.'s Comment
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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.

gotta trust the process. You're going to be doing quite a few alley docks and offsets daily so they need to be sure you're confident in them. Things will be different in the real world but atleast they'll be confident you know how to do it. You're getting a ton more practice than many of us did before getting our CDL. It gets boring doing the same thing over and over but that's how you're going to get better and keep your composure. You're learning exactly how to maneuver that vehicle. When you're doing an alley dock with cars, telephone poles and fire hydrants all around you you'll be thankful you had as much practice as you did. The way you're entering this industry is what you feel is best for you and your family and I can respect that. It's the same reason I started the way i did. However, when you're going to be delivering to multiple places a day in urban areas you're likely to be backing up 8-10 times a day (I'm guessing here, I dont know average stops a day). Compare that to the maybe 3 a day (customers, truckstops) OTR drivers do, with many drivers stating it takes them roughly 6 months to get decent backing despite many deliveries being at large distribution centers with more room to maneuver than what you'll deal with. FedEx has done their training this way for quite some time and have turned out successful drivers or they wouldn't be doing it.

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.

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
member avatar

You cannot have too much practice at backing. It may be frustrating, and it may seem pointless to you, but it’s a fact.

I know, but the same maneuvers over and over again gets tedious. It works because I'm able to get a trailer against a dock door from a 90 with no pullups, but there's still so much more to learn.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

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.

double-quotes-end.png

gotta trust the process. You're going to be doing quite a few alley docks and offsets daily so they need to be sure you're confident in them. Things will be different in the real world but atleast they'll be confident you know how to do it. You're getting a ton more practice than many of us did before getting our CDL. It gets boring doing the same thing over and over but that's how you're going to get better and keep your composure. You're learning exactly how to maneuver that vehicle. When you're doing an alley dock with cars, telephone poles and fire hydrants all around you you'll be thankful you had as much practice as you did. The way you're entering this industry is what you feel is best for you and your family and I can respect that. It's the same reason I started the way i did. However, when you're going to be delivering to multiple places a day in urban areas you're likely to be backing up 8-10 times a day (I'm guessing here, I dont know average stops a day). Compare that to the maybe 3 a day (customers, truckstops) OTR drivers do, with many drivers stating it takes them roughly 6 months to get decent backing despite many deliveries being at large distribution centers with more room to maneuver than what you'll deal with. FedEx has done their training this way for quite some time and have turned out successful drivers or they wouldn't be doing it.

Average city driver route has 11 or 12 stops. They vary. It can be a business or a home. Could be a dock or unload with a pallet jack and lift gate.

I don't have an issue with learning to back, but I'd rather bump docks if that what I'm doing. I'm prepping for my state test so I'm still pulling into cones. Dock doors aren't a part of the program. My trainer is teaching me the things he didn't learn that he had to learn the hard way. If dock doors aren't available, there isn't much we can do. Just keep backing into cones.

It's crazy that 2 weeks ago I couldn't go back in a straight line and now I'm doing all of these things with no issues.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

When I went to school, the first two weeks were nothing but straight line backing for at least four hours each day. One group was on the road in one truck, one group was backing in two other trucks. Boring, but a necessary skill set. Anyone can drive on the interstates, and most can drive on two lane roads. The skills come out during backing scenarios.

Learn it, live it, love it.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Banks's Comment
member avatar

When I went to school, the first two weeks were nothing but straight line backing for at least four hours each day. One group was on the road in one truck, one group was backing in two other trucks. Boring, but a necessary skill set. Anyone can drive on the interstates, and most can drive on two lane roads. The skills come out during backing scenarios.

Learn it, live it, love it.

That's the best part of this program. There are no groups. I work on what I have to work on. There's a schedule with some urgency, but there's no rush. I work and learn at my pace.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Day 9

Straight to the pretrip. No logs, we're hitting the road today.

Started out very well. My upshifting was good, my downshifting was not. I've started understanding the proper speed and RPM combo so by the end of the day it got a little better.

Going down hills, I managed to get my gear before hitting the hill. I maintained my speed by stab breaking and watched for intersections.

Going uphill wasn't too bad, except got one. It was pretty steep and I didn't down shift properly. I stalled out going uphill. Scary beyond belief. I quickly hit the brake, put it in gear and started it back up. The scary part was getting it to move without rolling back. I rolled back and panicked. I slammed the brakes again. By now the truck is shaking so violently that the horn fell out of place on the steering wheel. My trainer hit the trolley brake and told me to hit the accelerator. He let go of the trolley brake and we started moving up the hill.

This ruined the day for me. My anxiety would increase at every hill I came across. I spent the rest of the day second guessing myself. My shifting suffered and I stalled out a few more times.

We got back a little early, so I did some offsets, a couple of 90 degree alley docks and parallel parking. Then we went to maintenance so they could fix the horn and back to the classroom to learn about RPMs, speed and gears.

End of the day progress report said I have to work on shifting. I had 4 stall outs. I need to work on stopping before the white line and I didn't check my mirrors often enough.

Hopefully tomorrow is better.

Army 's Comment
member avatar

Hello,

Hang in there. This day is behind you. It’s all about learning and moving forward. You got this.

Best wishes Chris

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Hello,

Hang in there. This day is behind you. It’s all about learning and moving forward. You got this.

Best wishes Chris

Thanks Chris. I appreciate the words of encouragement.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Day 10 (week 3 day 2)

I'll start again a week and day to this so that in the future, if anybody looks at this there's a better understanding of the time frame.

I walked in there this morning feeling all best up and discouraged. I forgot to mention that I was so discouraged yesterday and in my head that I was messing up the straight back. I'm talking cones in my tires messed up. I was catching my drift and I was all messed up. That's why my head was low this morning.

I met up with my instructor he told me we're taking a different route today. We're going to a rural area with lots of hills and little to no cars. I felt a little better after hearing that. I did my pretrip and we headed out. My shifting improved. I knew when to upshift and when to downshift. We went in a bunch of circles and at the midway point we headed back to the terminal to take a mock state exam minus the pretrip.

I did my straight back, offset on both sides, conventional parallel park and a 90 degree alley dock. Passed all of them. Used 1 pull-up per skill except for the straight back. Then it was time for the road portion. I did ok. I missed a bunch of signs because I was focused on shifting. I have to learn how to focus on both. I also messed up by shifting up in a lower gear area. I didn't realize I was still in one. Another case of missing the sign.

Today was way better than yesterday and I ended it feeling better than I did yesterday. End of the day progress report said I have to work on shifting, staying in my lane and paying attention to signs.

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.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Day 11 (Week 3 day 3)

Is there anything worse than a full pretrip in the rain?

Rain or not, I killed my pretrip. I didn't miss anything and my brake test was what it needed to be.

On the way out of the hub I missed a gear while shifting and instantly fixed it. I knew then, it was going to be a good day. We went through more rural areas. More hills, stop signs, left turns and right turns.

I caught 99% of the signs today. I missed a gear while merging on the interstate. I was focused on finding my gear and the road. That's probably the only thing that's worse than a pretrip in the rain. Traveling down the interstate trying to catch a gear with cars flying by you and you have to pay attention to them, signs, clearances etc all while trying to catch a gear.

During lunch my trainer and I spoke about state test expectations and how to fix a missed shift fast. If the vehicle travels father than it's length in neutral or to have to stop to shift its a fail. That's probably the only thing I'm worried about.

We went back to the hub and in the yard I had to do 3 straight lines, 3 off sets both sides, 3 parallel park both sides and a 90. We dropped the trailer and took the tractor to maintenance for a check engine light (I didn't do it). In the class room I had to do some computer based learning and tests.

My progress report was clean which means I took care of the issues I had to take care of for this week. Next week is a new week.

I'm off tomorrow for the holiday, with pay and I don't go back until Monday. I wish all of you guys a Happy Independence Day. I'll be lurking.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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