My Roehl Training Adventure

Topic 27143 | Page 6

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Wild-Bill's Comment
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Week 3 day 1 Today was a really good day. We went for a long drive in the morning taking us through some possible test routes. We both had really good drives. My shifting was solid up and down. My only error was I got too comfortable and made a left turn into a right lane. Can't get over confident and make errors like that. My truck partner lost his habit of dropping the clutch and stalling. He was very smooth through the whole trip. It was his best run yet.

I was dreading the afternoon as it was going to be all backing after lunch. We got through several cycles of offset and 90 degree, jumping as fast as possible between the two. I lost count of how many times we did it, but it was enough to get way more comfortable. Not confident or competent but more comfortable. Our instructor made us figure out our set ups and errors and get it done. He would answer any question with a question until we figured out what we needed to do. He kept saying try it and find out. Even if it was the wrong decision which taught us how to correct problems. He was also pushing us for speed. It helped to stop thinking so hard about it and just do it.

Tomorrow is a big day. We're doing a pre-test in the morning with a different trainer. We need to nail the in cab PTI including the brake tests and then do the drive. We may also have time to test on backing. I'm nervous as hell, But it'll be another growth opportunity. After a good day today, I hope I don't have brain freeze tomorrow. It seems to go that way sometimes. A great day followed by a day where I can't shift or turn to save my life. I've heard that if we do well enough tomorrow, we may get an opportunity for the real thing on Friday. That'd be a nice Christmas present.

PackRat's Comment
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rather it was my thoughts on some of the folks on my truck that thought someone should hold their hand or give them a participation trophy for just trying.

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If that's what they're expecting out here, they will be waiting for the Greyhound going back home. This is a strictly "Do It Yourself" job, once you finish with your trainer. People that seem that way now aren't going to make it later, IF they pass the schooling tests.

As has been stated innumerable times on TT, there is no faking it. You seem to be doing well, Wild-Bill.

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Appalachained's Comment
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Brandon Kitts's Comment
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Keep up the good work buddy! I passed my CDL in Gary on Monday. I've got load securement Thursday and Friday and then I head home until I meet up with an OTR trainer.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Your doing great wild bill dont sweat the pretrip it all miraculously clicks after awhile. Being in class during this kind of weather actually helps a lot in my opinion. I went through class in February and with zero degree temps we spent alot more time on in cab inspections than normal classes for obvious reasons. The state inspector even mentioned winter classes almost always ace the incab and brake test.

Wild-Bill's Comment
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Week 3 day 2 Sorry to leave everyone hanging. What an emotional roller coaster ride the last couple of weeks have been. After a great Monday, Tuesday was a very bad no good terrible *&$# day. I need to take the evening to clear my head. Tuesday started with the pre-test. where another instructor takes you through the in cab and road test. If you score less than 12 points, you get to take your CDL test on Friday. I nailed the in cab until I got to the brake test. I forgot to turn off the truck on the applied leak test, so I had to start over again. Then I turned off the truck but forgot to turn it back to on. When I got to the alarms test, I realized my error when the alarms didn't sound, so, I had to start from scratch again. third time through, I forgot something again. I started to go back to square one when tester said just go ahead. I thought he meant move on to the drive. What he actually meant was move on to the service brake test (the last step). So, bottom line is I failed the brake test which is an auto fail. My drive was OK, but certainly not smooth. I let my frustration about the brake test get into my head and started grinding and missing gears. I ground more gears than I think I did all of week one put together. Sign identification was solid. The emergency stop was good and RR crossings were solid. I left the windows down after the first crossing because I knew we were doing another soon. Good thing I double checked before the second, because the tester had rolled his back up. I looked over and said "you dirty dog" as I rolled it back down for the crossing.

Overall, I lost 28 points 8 of which were in shifting issues which is usually a strong point for me, Just not today. I also got an auto fail for taking too long take off from a green light. It was the same intersection where I almost got in an accident last Friday. I think I was looking too hard for someone pulling out again. I hate that damn intersection and apparently it hates me too. So bottom line I choked and failed the pre-test. So, not testing out for me on Friday. The good news is that it gives me more time to refine my skills before I do take the test. I really felt like I let our instructor down because I know he had told his boss I was ready.

Then, Things got worse quickly after lunch. Our instructor wanted to grade our backing, I nailed the strait line and did pretty well with the offset, but the 90 degree just about made me want to throw the keys and give up. I was so tangled up that if it were possible to tie the truck into a pretzel, I would have found a way to do it. I thought I understood the process, but on my own, I couldn't figure it out. It was like Austin Powers' 50 point turn. Our instructor got into the truck, threw the clipboard down and grumbled, well, that's about enough of that. My partner got in and was told to pull the truck around and pull into the offset again. Our instructor stayed outside watching and I was in the passenger seat thinking about how how badly that went. My partner wasn't paying attention to the track and cut a corner too sharp. He for got the stop sign was there. The instructor yelled at him to stop just in time to miss the sign. Unfortunately, he then put it in reverse, turned the wheel the wrong way and hit the sign anyway. Out-frigging-standing. Rule #1 is DON'T HIT ANYTHING. Even hitting a cone is a big deal. Now we're looking at a broken stop sign thinking we might both get sent home. So, basically, the worst day we've had so far.

After he was done chewing us out, our instructor pulled us into the trailer lot and told us to take a break to get our heads screwed back on straight while he went in to tell his boss about the sign. We then went to the backing range and he was pushing us HARD through backing rotations, I lost track of how many we did, but we were flying through them to get the nerves worked out. My clutch leg and shoulders were sore afterwords. We had some good conversation and a pep talk at the end of the day. I was probably being harder on myself than necessary. I'm just used to being good at what I do. It's a humbling experience.

At the end of the day, no one got hurt, nobody got sent home, but it was still a painful day.

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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Week 3 day 3 A much, much, much better day today. Our instructor was in a good mood and we had some time as we were hooking up our trailer and doing PTI to joke around a bit. I'm sure he was trying to set the mood and get us loosened up after yesterday. We went for a long drive trading off all morning. We were both doing well. minor errors here and there, but nothing serious. Our instructor reminded us several times how far we've come in just a couple short weeks. He kept saying things like "Think of how far you've come from just last Wednesday" and "You guys have no idea how far ahead you are right now. You're doing rally well". He's just not a BS kind of guy. He thrives on what I call brutal honesty. So I know her wasn't just blowing sunshine up our skirts. There was definitely some instant and in your face feedback on any errors we made, but it was overall very positive. We even started joking around about some of his common sayings. Its not so much what he says but the rhythm in his voice when he says things. We were joking around about Shiiiift... The... Truck... which has become a catch phrase for us. It was just a fun drive.

After Lunch we did another simulator session. This time on winter driving. Everyone in the fleet does a winter and spring driving simulation every year. I'm not sure if other companies do that as well, but it was pretty good. The simulation was all kinds of slipping and sliding driving around accidents and crazy drivers. I thought it was the best simulator session we've done so far. After that we did more backing to try to hammer it into our thick skulls. I still need a lot of work on it. I get now why so many people struggle with it. Backing is way different in theory than it is behind the wheel.

I forgot to mention the frozen brakes. While we were setting up for the backing, out low air light and buzzer went off. the truck had been sitting for a few hours while we were in the simulator. The water in the tanks/lines had frozen. We had ice in the tank or lines. We tried draining the tank but no go. After banging on connections, pulling the glad hands bleeding down and building back up the pressure, we were able to get the brakes and air pressure working again. Another unscheduled, real life what do you do when this happens lesson. I'm glad it happened in a controlled environment rather than when running solo. We're leaving the tractor in a building tonight to warm up and we'll drain the tanks in the morning. Should have been doing this daily.

Apparently tomorrow, we get another shot at the pre-test. I just need to relax and drive like I know I'm able to.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Thanks all for the comments.

Noob- After messing up the brake test, I spent enough time on it I can do it in my sleep now. I agree about the winter training. It was one of the reasons I'm her now. I wanted to learn winter driving in a controlled environment rather than figuring it out on my own. Even dealing with frozen brake lines today was a good learning experience that you just cant get in the summertime.

Brandon, Great work! I'll see you in a terminal somewhere...

Appalachained - Sorry for the delayed posting, I know I left ya hanging. This diary is becoming like a soap opera. Stay tuned next time for.... The Roller-Coaster of CDL training...

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Wild Bill,

Thanks for sharing your experience.

So what's next after you pass your test on Friday?

Appalachained's Comment
member avatar

Appalachained - Sorry for the delayed posting, I know I left ya hanging. This diary is becoming like a soap opera. Stay tuned next time for.... The Roller-Coaster of CDL training...

No problem. I’m just glad you take the time to participate here. Thank You. Also, you got this!

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.
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