Should I Request A New Trainer At Swift?

Topic 26359 | Page 1

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Jim S.'s Comment
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If I change mentors, will I have to wait three weeks again? I have been on this truck four days and only have 26 hours btw even though this truck has moved 2300 miles. The first thing my mentor did when I got on the truck was to log me into the sleeper so that he could drive first, and I drive latter in order to make a 750 mile trip in 15 hours. I have only done one backing, because we are always late and he is in a hurry. He is taking loads that should be for teams only, and trying to make it work when I am supposed to be solo only for at least 50 hours. We haven’t been to a terminal yet so that I may shower, and only stop at truck stops long enough for fuel. Do other companies take 3 weeks for a mentor?

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.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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First, talk with your trainer. Let him know that you would like more seat time. If he is choosing loads, I would assume that means he's a lease op. Also, every truck stop has showers. Tell him how often you need to shower. If you can shower quickly, it could be done on a 30 minute break. You must politely speak up for yourself with your trainer. If that doesn't work, Swift should have someone in the training department you could talk to. Good luck.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Jim, I don't know how to tell you this - but everything you've said is "just trucking." That's all normal stuff. I'm not sure what you expected, but it sounds to me like everything is perfectly fine right now other than the shower. You should get a shower at least every other day.

He will do more of the driving at first so you can settle in and get used to traveling a little and get to know each other. He's doing you a favor by letting you settle in a little.

I have only done one backing, because we are always late and he is in a hurry

Relax, man. You've only been out there for four days. Trust me, you will get plenty of backing once you go solo. Most trainers will not give you a lot of backing practice. This isn't school anymore, this is real life trucking. You guys have to stay on schedule and get things done. If that means he has to get it backed in to save some time then that's ok. Your time is coming.

He is taking loads that should be for teams only, and trying to make it work when I am supposed to be solo only for at least 50 hours.

Listen, you can learn a lot while he's driving. Ask questions. Observe. Get a feel for the big picture and everything it takes to move freight. Trucking is a lot more than just driving. You have to manage your time, communicate with dispatch, navigate to customers, schedule your runs around heavy traffic and bad weather, etc. Learn the in's and out's of the game. If you're not driving, then learn all you can while he's driving, or get some rest so you're ready when it's your turn.

LIsten, this sounds to me like a classic case of you having the wrong expectations. You thought you knew exactly how everything was going to go. It turns out real life is a lot different than you thought it would be. Happens all the time. Relax and go with the flow. It's been four days and you're ready to get rid of this guy? That's not good, man. You've got to chill out and go along with the program.

Read Rainy's article she wrote today. She must have known you would need it:

How To Survive CDL Training On The Road

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.
Jim S.'s Comment
member avatar

I forgot to add, he is on a dedicated route with about 4 warehouses. Do you think that is enough variety?

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Cwc's Comment
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The first load you talked about was 750 miles. A person with a bit of seat time can run a 65mph truck over 600 miles in 10 hours provided you don't run into any major snags. Giving the second leg 3-5 hours to run that last 150 miles. Giving a noob a little cushion and a less stressful time constraint seems like a pretty good move don't you think?

Cwc's Comment
member avatar

I forgot to add, he is on a dedicated route with about 4 warehouses. Do you think that is enough variety?

Sure, you need to learn to punch the correct macros on the Qualcomm , manage your time, and a little backing, route planning.

All backing is different and you just need to learn the jist. 1 don't hit anything, 2 go slow and get out and look. 3 see number 1.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Understand that this isn't school anymore. This is real life. It's not about you. Trucking will not fit into your expectations and things won't be done your way. You're not paying them for a tour of the country. You're not on vacation. They're paying you to do the job they need you to do. Whatever the job requires it's on you to step up and make it happen.

If you want to run with the big dogs and do this for real, it's time for you to learn how to fit into the world of trucking and learn how things really get done out there. You must adjust to your trainer, not the other way around. You must adjust to the demands of the road, not the other way around.

Trucking is hard, man. This is the real deal. This is what it's all about. Each day you have to get up and get after it. That's the challenge that's facing you. Think about this - you're a brand new rookie, four days into training, and you're ready to tell the company, "Hey, this guy isn't doing things my way so get him out of here and get someone in here who will accommodate me."

Are you crazy??? That's not how it works, man!

smile.gif

Read Old School's article:

Trucking Is A Competition Between Drivers. Can You Hang With The Big Dogs?

So cowboy up, partner. You're in the big leagues now. It's time to show em what you've got. You can do it!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Jim, I'm starting to wonder how bad you want this. I'm really in agreement with Brett. Now that you've been thrown into the rough and tumble of the game you've decided it was better off just sitting on the sidelines imagining how it would be. Look, I had a terrible mentor, but I never thought about bolting. I took it all in stride, did what needed to be done, got my time in with my mentor, and moved on to my own truck.

Training is just tough. It's never what people expect. It's kind of like training wheels on a bicycle. It's only temporary until you can figure out how to ride without them. You'll still have a lot to learn when you go solo. We all did. Get a grip on your mind and settle in for what's ahead. Stop questioning everything! You are the student! Listen, learn, and then you can leave the trainer's truck and figure out the rest on your own. That's how it works.

You are not with a trainer to become proficient. We all barely knew what we were doing when we went solo. That's one way the company can tell if you're going to make it. They want to see that will to survive rise up in you and propel you to apply yourself to this lifestyle.

I sometimes compare it to bull riding. When you first sit down on a bull you either shy away and get back off, or you develop a resolve that says, "I'm all in - I'm going to conquer this!" The people who have that steel resolve go on to become bull riders. It's the same way with trucking.

Hang on and ride it out.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Just go with it for now. Talk to your trainer about the shower situation. As far as feeling like you’re driving like a madman to get “X” amount of miles....Right now it will seem like a huge obstacle. After less than a week, everything that you’re trying to learn all at once is going to seem to be a major challenge. Do your best, take in as much as you can, communicate, and observe everything.

A month from now, most of these problems are going to be nothing, and you’ll have to laugh at yourself.

It’s not easy, but you can do it if you set your mind to it!good-luck.gif

Dm:

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.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

You probably won't wait three weeks, but it is a possibility. You already know the situation with student/ mentor ratio right now. I've been in JV all week getting a student upgraded and running empty trailers until I go home tomorrow and they have been sending messages daily asking if mentors are available for a student. My next student gets to sit at home until I get off hometime Tuesday.

Aside from the shower though and possibly the backing you aren't doing bad. 2300 mile trip shouldn't take more than 46 hours of driving (Swift uses 50mph transit) of which you've done more than half.

Focus on your macros, logbook , and trip planning. I'd give it a few more days and if you aren't getting your backs or shower then say something. You have to get 40 done in order to upgrade so it is important to back.

As far as dedicated it depends on the account. If you're getting to experience different terrain then it's fine. A warehouse is a warehouse.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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