My Roehl Training Adventure

Topic 27143 | Page 7

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Cowboy's Comment
member avatar

Wild-Bill, that sounds like a wild couple of days. Keep your chin up, you seem to be doing great and taking the punches like a champ. You'll get it, just don't give up. We're all rooting for you. Just think what a better professional driver you're gonna be after all this...these are lessons you will never forget. I'll be there Jan 13th, hope to see you out on the road or in the terminal someday.

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.

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Week 3 day 4 Another day of roller coaster rides. At least the highs and lows were all contained in one day instead of having to stew over them all night. We did our PTI and trailer hookup as usual in the morning. By the time you get through 3 weeks of PTI twice a day, you can do it in your sleep. One of the students said he was actually dreaming about the pre-trip a few nights ago. He was literally doing the PTI in his sleep. After that we did some backing until break. After break, our instructor switched out with another instructor so we could get our re-test of the pre-test completed. The new instructor spent some time asking what we were struggling with and gave us some pointers to fix the problems. I told him my offset and straight line were OK. Not great but good enough to get it done. I was struggling with the 90 still. He had me do the offset and straight line and said I have no problems there and signed off on the pre-test portion of those. He gave me some feedback and coaching on the 90 and decided I was better than I thought. With his little bit of a different instruction on the moves and reasons behind them I was feeling more confident and so was he. He had me do one more without instruction and he signed off on that one as well. I had 5 total pull ups on the pre-test version which gave me 3 points. I was still a bit frustrated with it, but he said, Hey, you got 0 points on the offset and straight line so, take the 3 points on the 90 and move on. You can get this done on the test. Since I was now signed off on the backing he wanted to get the road test out of the way for both of us so they could get the actual CDL test scheduled. That's when things went a bit down hill.

My driving has been good all along. But when someone sits down next to me with a clipboard, my brain suddenly disconnects from the rest of my body. I ended up with 23 points on the drive. which is 3 over the benchmark they've set to be able to move on the the CDL test. I was trying to stay loose on the drive, so I started making conversation. I was talking about something and made a minor mistake on an intersection. Yes, the same intersection that hates me. I let that get into my head And started shifting poorly again. As I was trying to regain my composure, I missed some traffic checks and ground some gears. So, The important lesson for me here, is to shut up, focus and do the job. When he gave me feedback at the end, he said, "I know you can drive this truck safely and these errors are easily fixable to be ready to test this weekend, Unfortunately, we're only allowed 2 tries at the pre-test. anything after that needs to be approved by my boss." Once we stepped out of the truck, He told me he'd give his recommendation but it was a decision above his head. He explained that in the worst case scenario, I can contact a local school and pay them for some drive time and to rent a truck for the CDL test at home. Once I get the CDL, I can come back as a new driver, go through orientation and skills testing and get back into the company without owing the training fee. Not a great solution, but I guess not the end of the world.

I spent the next 45 minutes during my truck partners drive and the following break wondering how I was going to tell my wife that I gave up a six figure income and 30 year career for this and got sent home because I couldn't get the job done when it really mattered. The testing instructor came back after break, took me aside and told me that he and my instructor believe in me and know I can correct the errors and pass the test. They both went to bat for me with the boss and put their reputations on the line for me. The Director of Training took their word for it and they're going to allow me to take my CDL test on Saturday, He told me "Don't let any future recommendations I make for other students come into question. You need to pass this test." I don't think there's anything that can add to what I already have riding on this, so, point taken.

I'm very grateful for the opportunity to test. It's talked about here many times. Attitude, integrity, owning responsibility and and being professional are everything. I believe that being open to coaching, not placing blame, working really hard and being professional and pleasant helped get me a good outcome today. If I had been resistant, not given 100% effort, been headstrong or just generally had been a pain in the butt over the last few weeks, I'm pretty sure I'd be on my way home right now.

I had no illusion that this training program would be a walk in the park. Even with as many diaries as I had read, I'm not sure I was fully prepared for the emotional ups and downs or, the pressure and pace to get better fast that was involved. That's why I've tried to write as detailed and open as possible about my highs and lows and the emotions that go into it. I'm used to being successful at what I do. This experience has taught me to be humble that's for sure.

Tomorrow, We're going to do the standard drive half a day and back the other half. I need to push myself hard to be ready for the big test. There is no room for error. As Yogi Berra said "90% of Baseball is half mental." which as with most of his quotes makes no sense until it does.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Rob D, I'm not sure what happens after the CDL test. Brandon can probably answer better, He recently went through the same program and passed. It sounds like there is about a day and a half of classes, paperwork etc to get you ready to do the job on the road. If you're in flatbed, there is a two day class on load securement to do. If you're van or reefer , you get to go home a day or two after you pass. Our class is mostly van/reefer and they're trying to get us all tested out to be able to send us home by Tuesday. The flatbed folks will need to come back Thursday & Friday for the extra class.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

This is a great read. I've been following along the whole time. You have proven how tough it can be going through the transition into trucking. Your experience reminds me of this article on Riding The Emotional Roller Coaster Of Truck Driver 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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

Wild-Bill,

Thanks for sharing. This is one of my biggest fears about the transition to trucking.

following break wondering how I was going to tell my wife that I gave up a six figure income and 30 year career for this and got sent home because I couldn't get the job done when it really mattered

Our circumstances sound very similar. "Good job," good money, but just tired of the corporate politics. In fact, I learned from this forum that this is more common that I would have realized.

I've read on this forum about many people's struggles with the transition, both skills and lifestyle, which makes me second guess my decision to take the leap like you have. But its stories like yours that inspire me and make me believe I can do it. Because your story, like many others, involves struggles and triumph. You just haven't got to triumph part. My question about what's next, assumed that triumph.

One of my favorite speeches is Teddy Roosevelt's "To the Man in the Arena."

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

You got this man.

Looking forward to seeing the "I passed my test!" post.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Cowboy's Comment
member avatar

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Keep fighting for it and don't give up, bud. Your mistakes are "small" and easily correctable. Just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have had the best training, you are smart, diligent and committed. You KNOW what you're doing, now just go out and do it! You got this, man.

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

You got this Bill. Relax and think positive. We’re all pulling for you!!!

good-luck.gif

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the good thoughts everyone. You're absolutely right. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. I know I can drive, I just need to stay focused on the details, enjoy the ride and get it done. I was hoping for zero or low single digit points. At this point I've realized that 29 points and no auto fails gets it done. I want to do better than that, but anything that gets me over the goal is a win.

Old School, I hadn't seen that post before. Thanks for sharing. It could have saved some time in my diary by just referring everyone to that synopsis. Funny how the same language about twisting the truck into a pretzel and riding the roller coaster were used. You hit the whole process right on the head.

Short update for week 3 day 5. I know you're thinking short post... from Wild-Bill... not likely. But tomorrow is game day, and I'm ready to kick back a bit and get some rest.

We did a drive in the morning. I'm still having some issues with gear clashing usually on my downshift. It's getting to me because that used to be a strong point. I think I figured out the issue now and should be able to correct if I just focus on what the spedo & tach are telling me. In the afternoon we did some backing. I have the offset and straight-line nailed down. The 90 is coming along. I'm confident I can do it, but will need some extra pull-ups. I've been needing up to five which still gets me a solid pass. Once we both had the backing somewhat under control. My instructor and truck partner agreed to let me have a long drive to get some additional practice in to work out my shifting and traffic check problems. We spent about 1.5 hours on the road. The drive was Pretty good. It was a nice afternoon for a drive at least. The sunset was pretty. I'm still borderline overall. I have moments of near perfect followed by moments where I miss a gear and it throws me all off. I think If I narrate what I'm doing, it should help to stay focused and in the zone. Either that or the tester will think these last three weeks have made me completely nuts.

OK, That's it for now. Class tomorrow then a two hour wait for my turn to test. All four who tested today passed. I'm not going to break the streak.

Brandon Kitts's Comment
member avatar

Good luck brother! Keep at it and dont give up.

Cowboy's Comment
member avatar

You got this Wild-Bill. Good luck!

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