My Roehl Training Adventure

Topic 27143 | Page 3

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Delco Dave's Comment
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I’m still here as well, absorbing everything you’re sharing. THANK YOU!!!!.

I feel your aggravation of being stuck in a group that is struggling. Like you seem to be, I’m a take the bull by the horns kind of guy and excel under pressure. Its hard to concentrate on your own progress when others around you aren’t catching on and it feels like your being held back. Hopefully it will click for them soon, if not, I’m sure the trainers see you’re getting it, maybe they will move you to another group that better matches your learning speed to keep you moving along

At any rate, Good Luck and Thank you for sharing your training with us

Wild-Bill's Comment
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Thanks all for the encouragement. I really need the pick me up after Friday. It's good to know folks are reading my ramblings. I'll recap the weekend in a bit.

thank-you-2.gif

PackRat's Comment
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Tons of people are on here each day reading the posts. Some may decide it's not for them, and others will decide to take the plunge.

Wild-Bill's Comment
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Saturday (week 1) & Sunday (start of week 2) After being frustrated all day Friday, I was able to regroup and hit the reset button. I've been a retail manager and District manager for the last 30 years. It's hard for me to not feel some responsibility for people that are struggling. My whole career has been about measuring my success as a direct result of my teams success. In the end I realized this time, it's all about my individual training and career. I can encourage and help the others on my truck, but, I'm not responsible for them. I'm not going to let them hold me back from challenging myself to get better and more consistent every day. I'm going to measure myself against me not anyone else.

On Saturday we had a 1/2 day class session on route planning and understanding and using the atlas in combination with google maps & trucker path. It was really informative. Some of the things I've read here about clock management started to all come together for me. I've been using atlases all my life, but I had never noticed many of the tools that were pointed out in the class. Great info. The Saturday classes go on a 4 week rotation. so, if anyone misses one for whatever reason, they need to come back to catch up on whatever they missed. I can't imagine why anyone would miss a day short of a hospital trip...

After the class, Our trainer met us at the truck as promised for some extra driving practice. I was the last to arrive, but we got there before the trainer. The other three were sitting in the truck to stay warm. I poked my head in and said, Hey, I'm going to practice my pre-trip if anyone wants to join in. I think they were all content to just hang out until the trainer arrived. I just cant understand the mindset why anyone comes to a class like this and doesn't take advantage of every opportunity available to learn or perfect their skills especially when they know they're behind and their job is on the line. Anyway, We drove on the range from 12-5 with a trailer practicing turns and going up and down the gears at road speed. To get the jitters out for the other three he had them take the course at high speed. He was pushing them HARD outside of their comfort zone to try to get their nerves under control. Some of them had barely gotten the truck up to 6th gear. Now they were taking turns in 5th and bumping up to 8th. Overall the exercise seemed to help. They all improved. I was the last to go. I didn't get to do the high speed thing, because my issue is more about using the tools of the speedometer and tachometer for gear recovery and controlled downshifting as we slow to a stop. I'm also struggling with finding the right point to start my turns. He had me take a turn in 1st and stop at a few key points so i could GOAL and see where I was compared to where I needed to be. That helped a ton. He also worked with me on downshifting to the stop. After those tips, I felt really confident (at least on the driving range). I had 4 nearly perfect laps where I was hitting the proper RPM's getting up to speed and getting back down to 4th for the stop with smooth controlled shifting. Corners were tight and controlled. It felt GREAT.

We then uncoupled the trailer and took the tractor to the wash bay. He must have some trust in me as he had me pull into a pretty tight parking spot to drop the trailer. He also let me drive the tractor in and out of the wash bay (which seemed like an impossibly tight fit when I looked at it). I know it's no big deal for an experienced driver, but those tight spots had a big pucker factor for me.

On Sunday I was able to sleep in a bit. It seems the continental breakfast isn't set up on the weekends, so be prepared for that. Not a big deal for me as I haven't been going down for breakfasts most mornings anyway. I went back to the terminal to do some laundry in the drivers lounge area. I'm really glad I went there and didn't just stay at the hotel. Everyone there was super nice and helpful. I got to meet several drivers. All of them said they're very happy and getting all of the miles they need. I even talked to a driver in his second week solo and he had done 2600 miles in his second week. that seems pretty solid to me. I talked to two others that were 6-8 months solo one was getting 2500 - 2800 consistently, but he was doing more home time and the other was getting right around 3,00 on average. Income potential was a huge concern of mine going into this, so, it's good to know people are getting the miles they need and there's not a huge ramp up period. I went downstairs to the maintenance bays to check things out and again, everyone was super happy and helpful. After some light conversation, I was going to go walk the lot a bit. The guy I was talking to noticed I didn't have cleats so right away he got someone to grab me a pair so I was safe. Walking the yard I had some conversation with a couple other folks that were the same way. It was all feeling like some sort of cult until I got back to the lounge and met my very first terminal rat. He said something negative about the company and the worthless steering wheel holders and everyone basically shut him down until he crawled back to the hole he came from. It was kinda cool to see the culture.

Overall, it was a great weekend even if I didn't get to go home to the family as I had planned. The drive time and meeting people around the terminal was worth it though.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob. D.'s Comment
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Wild-Bill,

Thanks for the update. It sounds like your practice course is pretty large if you are getting up to higher speeds.

Appalachained's Comment
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Thanks for the update. I like how Roehl still trains on manual transmissions. That might be the deciding factor for me when I make my choice. Also the fact that they’re still getting miles. I have a friend who chose Swift almost a year ago. She only got 1400 miles last week. I know it could be because she’s not one of the better drivers, but I don’t think so as she was getting around 3,000 for a while.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
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She only got 1400 miles last week. I know it could be because she’s not one of the better drivers, but I don’t think so as she was getting around 3,000 for a while.

did she take hometime? Sit in a "dead zone" waiting on a load? Not get paperwork submitted in time? Late apts? I highly doubt if shes constantly turning 3000 miles they're intentionally going to cut those miles in half. Slow weeks can happen at ANY carrier.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Thanks for the update. I like how Roehl still trains on manual transmissions. That might be the deciding factor for me when I make my choice. Also the fact that they’re still getting miles. I have a friend who chose Swift almost a year ago. She only got 1400 miles last week. I know it could be because she’s not one of the better drivers, but I don’t think so as she was getting around 3,000 for a while.

Your reasons here are on really unstable ground. Miles per week will vary for all rookies. That has nothing to do with the name on the truck's doors. It makes no sense for you to bring up Swift like you do, as if the one rookie driver you know there is a proper representation of the overall operations of a company with more than 20,000 drivers. Think about that for a minute. It sounds kind of silly don't you think?

The driver is almost always the determining factor in how many miles they run. Unfortunately it takes a few years to grasp the concepts of how you manage things so that you are getting preferential treatment. Neither you nor your friend have the experience to make that happen, but you're happy to make your own presumptions and make a decision based on one bad week that a rookie driver told you about.

I get it how you newbies get all uptight about manual transmissions. But again, it's really a trifle. At this point your focus needs to be learning to handle a rig in a safe and productive manner. That's a tall order that has nothing to do with the type transmission you train on. You need to get licensed, and trained enough to go solo, and then you've got a lot of learning ahead of you for the next full year.

I think Roehl is a great choice to start your career. I also know that Swift is a great choice. Your comparison based on hearsay from a rookie driver is really not a good way to form your opinions or base your decisions. I certainly wouldn't base my decision on the transmission either. It's a really minor concern at this point.

Here's the three things you want to base your decision on...

1) Type of freight you want to haul.

2) Area of the country you want to run.

3) Home time options.

If you can get those three things to line up the way you want, you're going to be on solid ground.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

As usual, Old School is spot on. My research boiled down to all of the major carriers being roughly the same. Every company is going to have drivers getting good miles and drivers struggling, the difference is the driver. It's been made clear to us that if we're not getting the miles we need we need to work with our fleet manager to understand the reasons. Be careful though, the answer may not be what you want to hear. My career of 1 week has shown that you will always get a brutally honest answer to your questions. I'm not sure about other companies, but our training department is always open for drivers to ask questions on route planning, productivity, close quarters maneuvering etc. You just need to ask. But again, be prepared to not like the answer or coaching. It will make you better but it wont be an easy street.

Our trainers also talked about the fact that Swifts safety rating ranks right up there with Roehl. They simply have so many trucks on the fleet that there are more total accidents, not a larger percentage of accidents.

Training on manuals was a bonus for me but not a deciding factor. It's almost certain that I will be issued an automatic when I get my own truck. It was more about a well respected training program, variable home time options, opportunities to move to different types of freight and opportunities to move into local or dedicated routes in my area at some point.

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."

Fleet Manager:

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.
Brandon Kitts's Comment
member avatar

Roehl Trains on manuals so that you don't have to have the restriction. However most of the fleet is now automatic. Last year they bought 700 new trucks and of those 600 were automatic.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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