FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 4

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PackRat's Comment
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Great progress Banks! You’re doing great, so keep it up.good-luck.gif

Banks's Comment
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Great progress Banks! You’re doing great, so keep it up.good-luck.gif

Thanks PackRat. Most of my sifting issues happen during downshifting from 10 to 7 and while shifting going uphill. I try to avoid shifting on hills, but sometimes you have to, to avoid a stall out. Overall I'm very happy with the progress I've made in 11 days.

PackRat's Comment
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I guarantee you’ll be doing a bunch of shifting going up hills in PA. No way around it. Keep practicing and you’ll have it figured out before long.

Banks's Comment
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I guarantee you’ll be doing a bunch of shifting going up hills in PA. No way around it. Keep practicing and you’ll have it figured out before long.

The annoying thing is that I won't lol. FedEx is phasing out there manual transmissions. The only manual transmissions at my hub are for students. A driver can use them if there isn't anything left, but that's highly unlikely. They require a CDL with no restrictions and all endorsements because of the freight we haul and some hubs/terminals still have manual transmissions. They're expected to be completely phased out within a year or two.

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.

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
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Day 12 (Week 4 day 1)

Another pretrip in the rain. At least it was a light drizzle. My tractor is doing something weird with it's brakes at the start of the day. It charges up fine when it's just the tractor. Governor spits, does everything it's supposed to. After it's coupled it doesn't charge passed 100 PSI. I had to push in the trailer protection valve to get the air moving. I then pulled it out into the emergency position and the system charged up fine.

After the pretrip, I worked on my backing skills. 90, offset on both sides and parallel park on both sides. Offset gave me a bunch of trouble today for some reason. I chalked it up to having a bunch of days off and being rusty.

Then we went into town. My shifting was great today. I didn't hesitate and I wasn't scared to shift. Being afraid of missing a gear was hurting me a lot. Today I decided if I miss it, I miss it. And it worked out. Any gears I did miss, I was able to correct instantly. We went back to that hill that caused my anxiety to spike last Monday. I saw that hill today and I couldn't believe that little hill gave me so much trouble. It looked so much steeper last week. What a difference a couple of days makes.

At the end of the day we went back to the yard so I can touch up my offset a bit. Somehow, it got worse. I got frustrated with it and it got even worse. I'm still calling it Monday vibes.

My progress report said I have to work on stopping before the line at red lights. Those lights change so fast and I can't slow down fast enough to stop before the line. I'll get better at it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pete M.'s Comment
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Re: Brake problem. Your tractor is probably ok. The problem is in the trailer you hook to. IMO

Banks's Comment
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Re: Brake problem. Your tractor is probably ok. The problem is in the trailer you hook to. IMO

It looks that's what it was. When I started using a newer trailer, the problem stopped.

Banks's Comment
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Day 13 (Week 4 day 2)

Sorry I didn't update this yesterday. I didn't call my wife during my 30 and she want too happy. So I got home, put the phone away and had some family time.

I got in and heard the words I hate to hear the most in this program. "Change of plans". One of the instructions had emergency surgery so I had to share my trainer for some of the morning. I wasn't too happy about that. When a driver mentor clocked in the other student went with him. 2 hours on pretrip stuff because of that. Then I had to drive a truck up to a state test location because that student was using my truck for his state test. But before leaving we had the run the truck to maintenance because it was leaking coolant. They fixed it in about 30 minutes. The truck I drove up there was horrible. I didn't know what gear I was in half the time. I didn't know if I was in neutral or not because it was always loose. While at the test location I was waiting for the student to finish so we could swap trucks, my trainer comes up to me and says "they had a last minute cancellation do you want to take your state test today? ". I thought about it and figured sure, why not? But they said they could only get to the skills and pretrip. They would have to reschedule the road part so I said no. Worked out because on the drive back I couldn't grab a gear if my life depended on it. It was a bad day. Back in the yard my offset and 90s sucked. My parallels were good. End of the day progress report said I had trouble correcting missed gears.

Day 14 (Week 4 Day 3)

State test day. I contemplated posting my state test day on here because I didn't want my wife to know about it. She would have been stressed and worried and that would have made me stressed and worried. So I kept it quiet. Nobody knew but FedEx and I.

State test location was 2 hours away. The plan was to come in do a quick pretrip and practice backing. "Change of plans". Here we go again. The truck is leaking air. Run over to fleet maintenance and they fix it in about 30 minutes. Then we have to empty out the trailer because there was decking material left inside. I backed the trailer to a door, grabbed a forklift and emptied it. Then we grabbed copies of the tractor registration, trailer registration, insurance card and we made sure I had all of my documents. Drivers license, permit, medical card and a blank check (just in case). We headed out for the long anxious drive out there. Along the way we stopped for lunch. My trainer paid and told me I had to repay him with a license. I said deal because failing isn't an option here. I'll explain why in a bit. We arrived at Penndot at 1. My test was scheduled for 130.

We started at 130 on the dot. I chocked my wheels and started the pretrip. He told me "I know FedEx has there way of doing things, but half the stuff you're going to mention isn't on my list. I'll let you know when to move on". Fastest and easiest pretrip I've ever done.

On to the skills. I did my straight back, no problems. Onto to the passenger side offset. Did it with no pullups. 90 degree alley dock, I used 1 pull-up and 2 GOALS. Skills are done. Off to the road part. It took about 30 or 40 minutes, but it went well. Some red lights, some stop signs, turn left now right etc etc. I missed some shifts, but I was able to fix them immediately.

We pulled back into the parking lot and he's there typing on the iPad like I'm not sitting next to him freaking out. He finally tells me I passed, but my shifting is horrible. I told him I've never driven a manual and I didn't get this truck on the road until last week. He told me my shifting was amazing for that timeframe. So, now I have a CDL with no restrictions and all endorsements.

If I failed my state test I would've had to pay for a third party test. That's about 350. Third party because the state is backed up with appointments by about 2 months. If I didn't pay it, then I become a part time dock worker and I'm done. If I do pay it I lose a remedial week because I can't move to advanced without a license. Chances are, I'm going to need my remedial for advanced so I would've been in a bad spot. Failing was not an option.

I am not a city driver yet. I still have to get passed advanced week and city week. My progress report was clean. Best day I've had so far.

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

G-Town's Comment
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Banks, Dude...that is Fan-Freakin’-Tastic...!

Very, very happy for you. Congratulations!

You know where I hang, I owe you a coffee and a handshake!

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Rob T.'s Comment
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dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Great job! Doesn't need to be pretty you still have the same license as the rest of us. I look forward to hearing more about your journey

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