Starting On My Path To A Career In Trucking!

Topic 26835 | Page 4

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Appalachained's Comment
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Sounds like you’re off to a good start. Good deal.

Cowboy's Comment
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Hey Brandon, Good luck buddy. I look forward to following along as you go through the process. I hope to be in the Roehl GYCDL program next June. Thanks for posting your experience and progress.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brandon Kitts's Comment
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Sorry it has been awhile since I have posted. After being out in the cold for 10 hours a day, by the time I get back to the hotel I'm ready to eat, talk to my girlfriend and goto sleep.

So we are approaching the end of week 2. This week we learned to straight back, offset back and parallel park. You would think backing in a straight line is easy, but you obviously haven't tried it with a 53 foot trailer.

We spend half of our day on the backing range, and half on the road. We are getting better each day. Today the backing clicked for me and the shifting has improved tremendously. I am also 2 for 2 parking at a truck stop!

Tomorrow we will drive half a day and back the other. Now that we have learned to do it on the blind side, I believed we will start doing it to the sight or left side. Saturday we have class in the morning and then the rest of the weekend off.

Monday we will do our first CDL pretest. The instructor will basically run us through the test. Pretrip, Backing and Road test. This is graded just like the real test so we will know what we need to work on in week 3.

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.
Wild-Bill's Comment
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I'm glad you posted an update. I was wondering how it's going for you. I'm two weeks behind you in Marshfield. Believe me I feel your pain about taking the time for anything but studying & resting for the next day. Best of luck with the pre-test. I was talking to some other students and they said week 2 is much more intense than week one. Was that the case for you?

Brandon Kitts's Comment
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12/07/2019 End of Week 2 at Roehl’s GYCDL in Gary Indiana

Monday We always meet at our truck out in the training yard. We have to be there by 0630 but my group is usually there about 0615. We run each other through pre-trip until our instructor arrives. Once the instructor arrived, we hop in and start warming the truck up. Today I happen to be in the seat doing my in-cab inspection when the instructor arrived, so I drove first. We leave the terminal and head towards Indiana 912. We head North on 912 for about a mile and exit onto Indiana 20. This road runs through the Town of Gary. Once through Gary we merge onto Indiana 12 and take it to Burns Harbor. This little trip takes around 45 minutes. We stop at a Loves Truck Stop to switch drivers and for our instructor to grab a snack. Our Instructor Bart plans our routes from one truck stop to another so he can get snacks. Lol. I also allows us to practice parking at truck stops which is a big part of the job. After that another group member takes over and we drive around the area until time to switch out at another truck stop. This continues until its time for someone to drive us back to the terminal for lunch. We try to take lunch from 1200 to 1230 hrs. After lunch we head outside to the backing range where we spend the evening practicing our straight line back, blind side off-set back and blind side parallel park. This is the first time for all of us, but we start picking it up. Its all about learning what maneuvers you need to do to make that truck do what you want. Tuesday After doing our pre-trip we spend the morning in the yard practicing the backing maneuvers we learned on Monday. Our Instructor has to go do Pre-CDL testing on the class ahead of us so we spend the morning with a different instructor backing. After lunch we head onto the road. Another classmate drives first. Today goal is making turns. The Instructor takes us around Gary doing multiple turns in town and traffic to work on our shifting and watching the trailer. We end out the evening driving around East Chicago and taking a turn-about in the rig. Wednesday After pre-trip we did some driving around Gary and then did a driver swap. Our truck was needing a regen so we decided to take it on the interstate and try to burn it out. One of my truck mates drove it to Sawyer, Michigan and the after a brief break it was my turn to drive and I drove back to Gary from Sawyer Michigan. On the Interstate with an empty Van Trailer you can really feel the wind pushing you. Once back in town another classmate drove around Gary and back to the terminal. After lunch more backing range time.

Thursday Pre-trip and morning on the backing range. After lunch we went out and drove some back roads through the country with some tight S curves. We basically started in Lowell Indiana and made loops from Indiana 55 to Indiana 2 and back. We did our driver swaps at the Pilot in Lowell. At this point everyone is doing really well with driving and backing. The instructor said we are at a week 3 level even though we are only week 2.

Friday We learn that we are now down two more classmates. We started with 12. On day 2, one was fired for lying about a felony on his application. The sad thing is that the felony wouldn’t of prevented him from being hired if he had been honest. We had another sent home the first week because he had to get a Doctor to sign something, but he will be back. On Thursday we lost one because his pre-existing back injury was bothering him and another because they just couldn’t follow directions or drive very well.

So on Friday we got moved to the instructor whose entire truck had been sent home for one reason or another. Our Instructor was going to be working 1 on 1 with the guy that had came back from getting paperwork signed by his doctor. So we get moved from a Freightliner Cascadia pulling a Dry Van to an International LT with a flatbed. We spend the morning driving the Test route and getting used to a new truck and trailer. After lunch we go out to do our blind side backs with the flatbed and then take a try at the sight side. After learning to back a Dry Van the Flatbed is much easier in my opinion.

Saturday Todays lesson was on hazardous materials handling, the CSA system and briefly on load securement. Saturdays are short days. We are usually out by 1100 hrs. The rest of the day will be spent relaxing and on Sunday I will be going to terminal to do my laundry for free.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

Interstate:

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

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I'm glad you posted an update. I was wondering how it's going for you. I'm two weeks behind you in Marshfield. Believe me I feel your pain about taking the time for anything but studying & resting for the next day. Best of luck with the pre-test. I was talking to some other students and they said week 2 is much more intense than week one. Was that the case for you?

Yes week 2 is a little more intense. It all depends on how well you are picking things up and improving. The key is to listen and improve every day. If you don't you may be sent home. As long as you are trying, being safe, listening and getting better you should be ok. Good luck in Wisconsin! It is uncomfortably cold here and I see on the weather it is even worse up there.

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