FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 6

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PackRat's Comment
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Gotta watch that wagon! Checking those mirrors keeps you out of the ditch ( or other obstacle) and keeps you employed, so take it slow and listen to that awesome trainer you have.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
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Gotta watch that wagon! Checking those mirrors keeps you out of the ditch ( or other obstacle) and keeps you employed, so take it slow and listen to that awesome trainer you have.

It was definitely a lesson learned. I know better now.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

Day 17 (week 5 day 2)

We're doing doubles today. I did my thorough pretrip on the tractor and grabbed a dolly. Did a pretrip on the dolly then backed it up to a pup. Dollies are tough because you have to catch the drift immediately to keep it straight. I had to pull up and back up a number of times to get it where I wanted it. It weighs 3K so doing by hand is not allowed to prevent injury. Once I dropped the dolly, I went and grabbed another pup. The hard part is lining it up perfectly. Being off by a couple of inches won't work. I had to do a few pullups to get it lined up right. It took me about 45 minutes to hook up the set. I did a whole pretrip and then we took off to another terminal that's about an hour away. Once there I had to break down the set and then put it together again. Dropping and hooking took about an hour. We took our 30 then it was time to head back. On the drive back my trainer told me that if I have to do this and it's 2AM and nobody is around to help then take some pictures and call him. He'd rather wake up than me take a chance and do something that isn't safe.

On the driver back, he instructed me to go a different way. We pulled into an empty parking lot and he told he to break it down and put it together again. He said he could tell I used the lines at both terminals and that's fine when they're there, but they're not always there. He wanted me to hook up doubles with no lines on the ground. I was about to get the dolly lined up, but I wasn't able to get my trailer right in front. I tried for an hour and 20 minutes he had to take over and do it. We were running out of time and we have to be back by a certain time because I'm not supposed to get overtime while in training. He took the trailer pulled up and backed it in with no issues. It took a total of 5 minutes. He said not to feel bad. He's been doing it for a long time and I'll get to that skill level. It takes time.

Back at the terminal I dropped my trailers, parked the dolly and that was the day.

My progress report said I have to work on getting my lead trailer lined up properly. 2 out of 3 isn't bad for my first time. I'll take it.

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.

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.

Banks's Comment
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Day 18 (Week 5 Day 3)

Another doubles day, but I get an automatic today. I was excited because I was curious. I've heard you either love or hate an automatic. I missed shifting, but the ride was comfortable. It's way easier to slow down and hit the gear button to put in manual to go down a hill and just floor it to go up one.

I hooked up my doubles with no issues. I realized if I stop looking at the wall and just line up the tires, I'll have no issues. That's what I did. When my trainer asked what I did different, I told him. He said that's what all the road drivers do, but they're not allowed to teach that. I don't understand that, but it's above my pay grade.

My trainer did set me up today. I had a bad fuel cap. I checked it on the pretrip and it closed fine. When I went to hook it came loose and fuel splashed all over the place. I dropped the trailer and took the tractor to maintenance and they replaced the cap because the thread was worn. We had to clean the fuel spill with some quick dry and put it in hazmat bins. After cleaning it my trainer told me to take it to road dispatch, so I did. I asked the guy in road dispatch what do I do with this hazmat pail? I told him it's fuel and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said it doesn't go here. I told him I know it doesn't go here, I'm asking what do I do with it? He asked the operations manager and he said just set it down and told the dispatcher to label it. I've never seen a grown man throw such a hissy fit. The label is the size of an index card and all he had to do was full it out. He wanted the ops manager to write me up for spilling fuel. The ops manager told him he's not writing me up for that because it wasn't preventable, it was a maintenance issue. My trainer came in said we gotta go if you need any info on that spill for your little label call me. We went outside and he said I knew what we were supposed to do with that, but I wanted you to get your first taste of dealing with road dispatch. He's always like that.

confused.gifwtf-2.gif

Once on the road we headed to another terminal about 150 miles away. I had to do the same thing I did yesterday. Drop and then hook. No issues because I looked at my tires. I dropped and hooked that set in 45 minutes.

Back at the terminal, the guy in charge of the drive development program came over and told me "hurry up, road dispatch wants to give you your write up". I told him I wouldn't laugh too hard, I heard he's being promoted. He's going to be your boss. He said "I'd quit".

End of the day progress report was clean.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Great update, Banks! Great to read about your rapid learning.

Banks's Comment
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Day 19 (Week 5 Day 4)

FedEx test day. Way more stressful than state test day. I had to hook a set a doubles and do a pretrip in half an hour. I failed the first time. I dropped my dolly and it wasn't lined up perfectly. Can't hook if the dolly isn't perfect. I had to start over and I passed it the second time. I had to run that set in a 40 mile loop that included local streets and the interstate. I asked why did I have to run on local streets if all of the terminals are located off of interstates. I was told because construction detours happen. Makes sense. On this route I had to read off every sign that pertained to me and handle some hills.

Part 2. I had to take a 48 foot trailer out. Same deal. 40 miles interstate and local streets. Don't hit anything (curbs included) and you pass. And that was my day. It was a bittersweet day. I'm done with my trainer and go on to a city driver mentor. Back at the office we went over what to expect and the paperwork I'm responsible for in this phase. A progress report handled by my mentor and a time clock sheet to track my lunch breaks for payroll.

It's crazy to me that when I started this program I would stall out going from second to third. I don't even know how that's possible now. With 18 days of instruction, I'm confident with my backing, I can maneuver a 48 foot trailer through some tight situations. I can hook a set of doubles and run them to another terminal. I spent 2 and a half days trying to back a trailer into some cones from a 45 degree angle and now I can do it with no pullups.

I remember the day my trainer came to me on the dock and told me he was my trainer and that I start Monday. He said "we're a team. If you fail that means I failed. As long as you don't quit and you trust the program I'll get you your license and an offer letter". On day 1 I thought there is no way I'll be ready for that state test in 3 weeks. I was that bad. By state test day, I was worried about failing because I messed up, not because I couldn't do it. I can do it, but we all have bad days. I didn't want that day to be one of my bad ones.

Now the new part starts.

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.

Interstate:

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

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.

Banks's Comment
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Great update, Banks! Great to read about your rapid learning.

It's definitely fast paced and I'm doing my best to do this program Justice. These instructors take guys with no experience and mold a curriculum around how they learn. It's not an easy task and I honestly don't know if I would have learned these things at this pace anywhere else.

Banks's Comment
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Day 20 (Week 6 Day 1)

My first day doing P&D. I am exhausted.

Met up with my mentor my city dispatch. We went out I did my pretrip and then we went to our assigned dock door to grab our trailer. Took a quick look inside to make sure it was loaded properly and to make sure freight that had to be strapped down was strapped.

This week is all me. I'm doing everything with my mentor just guiding me and answering any questions I may have. Our first delivery was on a HVAC company on a residential street. Luckily, there was plenty of space to pull in and bump the dock. The guy there was really nice and didn't care that I took a little longer than most to back in. He wished me luck after I told him it was my first day.

The second stop was on a busy street and there was plenty of room for me to get in. There wasn't that much space in that lot. There was lots of clutter and it was difficult maneuvering around all the stuff. When I bumped the dock the receiver told me I had to pull up and do it again because my trailer wasn't straight and the dock plate wouldn't fall properly. Man, do I miss lines. Got that straightened out and we were gone .

The next one was a house on a residential street. Because there was 2 of us, it wasn't that bad. I'm still trying to figure out how one person would make that work without having the customer help. Leaving there was a little tricky because everything straight ahead wasn't truck friendly. I had to back into the intersection to make a u turn.

Next stop was the hospital. My mentor told me to let him do this one because it was a little tricky. You have to know where you're going here. One wrong turn makes for a very long day and even going the right way was tough because of the traffic and cars parked everywhere. Once we got out of there, I took over again.

Next up was a junk yard. They ordered the teeth that grind up the cars. There order weighed about 3500 lbs. I asked him if there was any way to pull it off because I couldn't move it with my pallet jack. He had a forklift with long blades, so it worked out.

The next place was another dock, but it wasn't too bad. Just had to swing out and back straight in. The next stop required a 90 alley dock. It was a little harder for me because I've gotten used to having all the space in the world. That wasn't the case here. There was a cliff with a pretty bad drop at the end of the pavement with no guard rail. Honestly, I didn't even realize it was there until I was getting ready to get in front of my trailer. I had to pull out and start all over again.

Now it was time for pick ups. We were a little late to the first one. That guy was not happy. He had no patience for the new guy trying to back up. My mentor took the wheel and backed it in. Said he didn't want to, but the guy was pretty angry and he wanted to get out as soon as possible.

The next pick up was pretty easy. Lots of space to work and plenty of room to move around. It was a pet supply place, so it was kind of funky. They were loading up 10 pallets so it took a little while.

And now the last stop. A hotel that ordered a TV and some other stuff. Didn't do it earlier because the turn wasn't possible. My mentor called them and asked if they had any alternate entrances that were truck friendly. She said no, but that we should be able to pull in, turn right and then back up to turn left to leave once we were done. I looked it up on Google Earth and told him I didn't feel comfortable doing that. The parking lot is small and I definitely don't want to back up where there are a bunch of cars parked. He told me he would do it and to never go into a situation I'm uncomfortable with. At the end it's up to me so anything that happens is on me. We turned to go into the hotel and there's a big sign saying "no tractor trailers beyond on this point". We pulled in anyway and unloaded the pallet by hand. He grabbed one end, I grabbed the other and we just ran it in.

Back at the hub I was assigned the worst door possible. There isn't enough room to straight line back and there's a trailer on both sides. The times I practiced this, I had enough room to straight back and there was a trailer on either side never both. I had to 45 my trailer in. Go back to page 1 and see why I hate that skill. It took me 2 and a half days to figure out how to get into cones. I'm causing the ultimate traffic jam at FedEx. My mentor says don't worry about it they all get paid by the hour. It took me a handful of pullups, but I finally got it in, without hitting anything.

By the end of the day we did 11 deliveries and 2 pickups. I know I didn't list 11 stops here. I only listed the ones that stuck out. My progress report was clean and now it's time for bed.

Tomorrow, we'll be somewhere different. My mentor is an extra board driver. Something different everyday.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like a good first day, keep up the great work.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Banks this is really great. Not sure we’ve ever had a PnD Diary.

Really good! Stay safe and “watch that wagon”.

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