Training During Summer Vs. Winter

Topic 26044 | Page 1

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midnight fox's Comment
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Just a quick question, if you were coming into this new and had a choice.

I could see how it could be better to first get a good handle on the fundamentals of driving, to have confidence in one's abilities before taking on the added challenge of adapting those skills to winter conditions, but I can also see how it could make sense to learn it all while facing those conditions, with a trainer right there to guide you through.

Thoughts, experiences?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Fox, where are you from? Are you accustomed to winter driving? I'm from the Frozen Tundra, and driving a truck in winter conditions was not a problem for me at all. If you are from a southern area, by all means train up north to get used to winter driving with a trainer who can guide you.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

There's no perfect time to start. I put this off for a couple of years because there was always something that prevented me from being away from home. Even now, I can't be away from home. There's too much going on. Thankfully, I found a situation that works for me. I would say pull the trigger when you can. You don't learn until you're out there. There will always be new challenges and obstacles. It could be winter road conditions or summer traffic jams.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

This is something we've debated a little in the past and I don't think there's really a general consensus on it. I think if I had to make a choice I think it would be better to start in the spring/summer/fall and get a little experience before the winter hits. That way you know the basics of handling the rig before the added difficulty of winter conditions. But I'm certainly not against someone starting in the winter.

If you're out with a trainer in the winter they can give you some tips, but nothing you couldn't learn by talking to anyone with experience in winter conditions. Honestly, there isn't much a trainer can really demonstrate. If it's slick out, you either go really slow or park it until conditions are better. That's about all you can do. It's not like you're going to get on a giant skid pad and practice sliding around in the snow or something. The idea is to go as slow as necessary to prevent losing traction, and if you don't feel it's reasonably safe at any speed then park it and wait for better conditions.

Having the discipline to park it when you're uncomfortable is the most important safety tip there is for winter driving. Don't try to be a hero and push through it. Know when to pull the plug and park it. Believe me, once you get on slick roads and the weather is bad and you can't see very well you'll realize, "Holy crap this is terrifying. I don't want to be out here." Park it, go inside and get a nice steak dinner, and read a good book until the conditions get better.

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
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I started 28 December 2018 and seeing most of the loads were 42000-44000 lbs it made it easier because of the weight. I'm not saying that it was all Rose's, but I kept my speed appropriately for the conditions. Just remember, you are not the only one on the road so you will to keep that in mind. Be easy on the throttle and easy on the brakes and you should do fine. I hadn't driven in snow or ice in maybe 25 years so it took a little adjustment. Good luck and don't be a stranger. There are so many with lots more experience than I, that will give the right advice.

Raptor

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

No bad time to start, as well as no perfect time to start. I started with a trainer in the Winter and jumped headlong into it. That worked for me, but may not work for someone else. Brett had a great point to start in warmer weather and work up your experience level prior to the winter driving periods. Depends on where you travel but some areas seem to just about always have the possibility of winter-like conditions. Less than two weeks ago, Montana and Colorado were getting snow, so realistically you may see the white stuff any month from September though June (I have in the lower 48).

I think the best advice I have is TO start, no matter the month or weather possibility. Most do NOT start at all and these people will never know. Get off the fence and get behind the wheel! It may be the greatest adventure of all time.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

In addition to other reasons, this is why I plan to start next March/April.

I think if I had to make a choice I think it would be better to start in the spring/summer/fall and get a little experience before the winter hits. That way you know the basics of handling the rig before the added difficulty of winter conditions.

If I start April 1, I figure that gives me a full month of orientation and PSD. TNT in May, June, July (assuming 5000 miles per week). Solo, August, September, and October before I start getting into the thick of winter in the northern regions.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

It's not like you're going to get on a giant skid pad and practice sliding around in the snow or something.

Did someone say "skid pad"?

https://youtu.be/FFgmzzCcGHQ

shocked.pngsmile.gif

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

For what it is worth, I picked up a trainee on Thanksgiving who had just passed his CDL. He was from MS and never drove in snow plus his CDL instructor scared him with statements like "Wyoming is horrible. It's suicide to go there, and they know I wont go".

We first went to Florida and on week 2 he drove us across WY in the snow and ice with me sitting next to him. I told him calmly what to do and he did it. When we parked he said it was scary but he trusted me to walk him through it. Had he not been such a good trainee who listened well, i wouldn't have trusted him. I would have parked us.

We started our team training phase and I made sure to drive us across WY a few more times. By the end of training he told his CDL instructor he was a wimp, and told my FM he was no longer terrified of winter. "I can do WY blindfolded. I know where all the truckstops are and which mile markers are worse than others. WY is nothing now."

He upgraded the end of February. He averages 2700 to 2800 miles per week and is on track to make $55,000 this year, and 2 of that is training pay.

I came to my company in September to get winter training, but my trainer avoided snow whenever possible. So from November to February I drove 2 shifts in snow. That is it. I was really nervous going solo cause where did i get send my 3rd week solo? Through WY lol With jack knife vehicles and accidents everywhere. I went slow, had my hazards on and got through it. But I'm from Jersey and drive snow.

Hope this helps.

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.

Fm:

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.
midnight fox's Comment
member avatar

Wow, thanks for the responses, everyone.

Fox, where are you from? Are you accustomed to winter driving? I'm from the Frozen Tundra, and driving a truck in winter conditions was not a problem for me at all. If you are from a southern area, by all means train up north to get used to winter driving with a trainer who can guide you.

I grew up in Iowa and Wisconsin. Mom driving us west on I-80 in a whiteout with thirty vehicles in the ditch, stuff like that. Ha, I'll give her credit for my first lesson. She drove s-l-o-w.

If you're out with a trainer in the winter they can give you some tips, but nothing you couldn't learn by talking to anyone with experience in winter conditions. Honestly, there isn't much a trainer can really demonstrate. If it's slick out, you either go really slow or park it until conditions are better. That's about all you can do. It's not like you're going to get on a giant skid pad and practice sliding around in the snow or something. The idea is to go as slow as necessary to prevent losing traction, and if you don't feel it's reasonably safe at any speed then park it and wait for better conditions.

Makes a lot of sense. I think my mind got distracted imagining all kinds of techniques and maneuvers I'd need to know to get out of situations that would probably only happen if I weren't driving to conditions in the first place.

I think the best advice I have is TO start, no matter the month or weather possibility. Most do NOT start at all and these people will never know. Get off the fence and get behind the wheel! It may be the greatest adventure of all time.

Definitely. Going to run with it and see just how much I can make of it. I have a bit of leeway as I work out the timing for when I come back to the States, so I was just curious how much I should factor in what season it'll be.

Rainy, I think Wyoming is kind of what pushed me to make this thread, not so much a concern about winter driving, but mountain driving in winter. Not used to roads smart enough to receive a grade. ;)

Hearing that about averaging 2800 miles a week helped the most. :D

Banks and Rob, best of luck with school!

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