FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 5

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Army 's Comment
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Congrats!!

PackRat's Comment
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That's awesome news! Congratulations!dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Banks'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!

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Thanks G-Town. I know your stomping grounds. I'll definitely take you up on that.

Banks'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

There's more coming, Rob. It wasn't pretty, but it got the job done.

Banks's Comment
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Thanks Amy and PackRat.

Banks's Comment
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Day 15 (Week 4 Day 4)

I walked in to a bunch of congratulations. Then my day got a little worse. My own fault. I did a lazy pretrip. My trainer was not happy. He said

"We don't do pretrips because the state requires it or for some test that you can pass by watching a YouTube video. We do it for our own safety and the safety and the safety of everybody around us. If you're doing 65 weighing 70 or 80 thousand pounds and your tire falls off somebody can die. Not only do you have that weighing on you, but now you're looking at vehicular manslaughter because they're going to tear this vehicle apart looking for the cause. If they find that it could have been prevented, but you signed off saying it was good what's going to happen? What if you're going down a hill and your brakes fail? Do you think that little guard rail is going to stop you from going over? What's your family going to do? It's not too be a hard ass it's so that you understand what's on the line here and that it's serious. You're not the first student to get a CDL and do a bs pretrip. Don't start slipping now. Do it the way you know how to do it because a short cut won't get you far".

That made it sink in and I will absolutely take it more seriously. We left the lot and I had to do a big lap around the surrounding area. It included hills, rural areas, busy towns and highways. My shifting got a lot better because I let off the clutch gently instead of letting it fly up. Once I completed that lap we went back to the yard so I could start learning how to hook doubles. There wasn't a lot of time left so I just practiced lining up 2 pups.

While we were driving around we discussed a lot of things, but a lot of it revolved around salary expectations as a city driver. He told me my first year I'll make between 45 and 60K. My second year will be 55 to 70 and by top pay it would be between 60 and 80. He said by top pay I should be able to bid on road runs and they see anywhere between 75 and over 100 a year, but the trade off is they're never home. They burn their clocks everyday. I'll play it by ear. I'm too early in this to think that far ahead.

End of the day progress report was clean. I finished basic week and I'm on to advanced.

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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That’s a good trainer!

Banks's Comment
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That’s a good trainer!

He's awesome. I don't think I would've gotten this far with another trainer. The 1 on 1 aspect of this makes it work even better. After a month of working together there's an investment there that he wants to see a return on. It's my job to make sure he sees it.

G-Town's Comment
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That’s a good trainer!

I concur.

Banks's Comment
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Day 16 (Week 5 Day 1)

I thought I was getting an automatic. Somebody took it so I got my usual manual. I did a thorough pretrip and we were off. Day 1 of advanced was taking a 48' trailer through some busy areas. A lot of traffic and pedestrians. The hardest part was the right turns. I hit a few curbs. I let other vehicles dictate when I cut my turn off and started bringing it back to the right. My trainer said that I can't let them dictate what I do because that's how accidents happen. He told me to make my turn like I normally would and if I can't go forward anymore then I can't forward anymore. They're going to have to move because they're way passed the stop line and blocking traffic. He said if that curb was a car I would've hit it. And apparently there are a bunch of babies hanging out on corners.

Heading back to the terminal , somebody took out some electrical lines. Unexpected detour. This sucked. I can't put it any other way. Roads were slanted and I had to keep moving into the lane for oncoming traffic to correct my off track. Once I finally got to a major roadway, I had to make a right. All of a sudden my trainer yells for me to stop so I stopped. My trailer wheels were heading towards a ditch. He told me to let all the cars pass and then turn all the way left. Once I cleared the ditch I had to bring it back to the right. He explained that if my trailer wheels would've went into the ditch it would've flipped us because we're riding empty. I have to watch my off tracking more closely.

Back at the terminal, I practiced bumping docks until the end of the day. Did some 90s, 45s and straight backs into dock doors. End of the day progress report said I have to work on my right turns. I'll take that for a Monday. My Mondays tend to be a lot worse. My shifting was great today. No missed gears, no grinding and I released the clutch slowly so it didn't do that abrupt take off resulting in a minor case of whiplash.

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.

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