Moe's CDL Training Diary

Topic 27310 | Page 2

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Steppenwolf 's Comment
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All my replies disappeared so I'll just say keep going...you will get it... The real driving and backing are a bit different out here... I'm 21 days solo and still struggle backing at truck stops. I try to keep it simple. Pull through or almost straight backs. Practicing 45 degree at wide open docks...not really learned at my private school. Good luck and tell yourself you can do it, cause you can Moe.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Moe's Comment
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My fifth CDL exam is scheduled for Thursday 1/9 a little less than a week from now. I feel more calm than before. Today we went out to our backing yard and I drove us out there. I drove the dual side stack Freightliner (see my diary entry about that truck) today to our backing site.

My shifting was great downshift upshift didnt miss a gear, I'm not being arrogant or over confident but shifting has not been too huge a concern for me.

We did several straight backs - Errol! My brother, that advice you gave me - "Turn toward the trouble" Helped me immensely on the straight backing , it simplified it so much and I was much calmer keeping those words in my head. And I got it in straight all times save one where I was at an angle, one pull up cured that and I got it back in, turned toward the trouble on the left held it 2 seconds and then corrected and voila! I was straight! My instructor told me the slight angle I had wouldn't have been a big deal in the real world but for testing it's a no go.

Next was my offset to right from left lane, held my wheel half turn left to kick trailer right and counted about 4 seconds and corrected right to straighten. I was almost there but I had to correct left turn , did that and held for 3 seconds, which turned out to be too much. I should have done a 1/4 turn left and done 2 seconds not a 1/2 turn left and hold for 3. I corrected right and by that point was in the box so I had to pull up. It ended up taking me three pull ups to get it done, but that would have only bee 1 point on the state test so I am not worried about it.

Next was my 90, I incurred 10 points for pullup and encroachment but passed.

My next 3 90s we did got progressively better in that dual stack freight line and by the end of it, I was doing much better. I ended up using 5 to 7 points each time on the 90 *pullups done after the free two that the state gives you*

Something clicked today and I took it almost more slowly after my first 90. My second 90 I started consciously reading the trailer and spotting the points of Jack knifining and correcting to prevent that.

My 90s weren't perfect but I would have passed a state backing exam.

My school wont let me delay the testing anymore sonit really is do or die right now. I need to make this happen. I'm on food stamps and the last of the rent is this month.

I HAVE to do this and I want to do this. Trucking is about the only functional family I have come across, I see you guys as brothers and sisters. I need to do this and be on the roads with yall.

Errol again thanks for that tip *Turn toward the trouble* that forced me to slow down and get the BIG picture whole hacking today....

I'll post again on Monday as I have a practice time at 730 AM at school. I am going home now, got a burger and having lunch. Might take this PM to do laundry and chillax a but and play some video games. I have also been using a toy truck and trialer at home so I will do that a bit tonight and significantly over the weekend as well.

Later - Moe

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Glad to hear you're starting to understand it better Moe! When you say 5 test attempts before you need to wait a year is that only for each section? Or do you need to pass the backing AND the road test this time? I guess what I'm asking is what happens when you pass the backing but IF you fail the road test will you be given 4 more attempts to pass that, or will you be required to wait 1 year before trying again in your home state?

Moe's Comment
member avatar

Rob,

This is do or die - the whole taco....

Glad to hear you're starting to understand it better Moe! When you say 5 test attempts before you need to wait a year is that only for each section? Or do you need to pass the backing AND the road test this time? I guess what I'm asking is what happens when you pass the backing but IF you fail the road test will you be given 4 more attempts to pass that, or will you be required to wait 1 year before trying again in your home state?

Moe's Comment
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wtf.gif Speaking of Tacos, why dont we have a taco emote?wtf-2.gif

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm glad you're getting confidence in your practice, Moe. With less frustration & worry you'll better be able to concentrate on getting things done.

Another tip: as you back up, each, and every time your cab and the trailer get lined up in a straight line, stop for a second and look where your trailer is aimed for, and decide from that which direction and how much more turning you'll need.

Moe's Comment
member avatar

My fifth and final opportunity to pass and obtain an Oregon CDL is this coming Thursday 1/9/2020. I feel more prepared than I have in times past and I am using the next couple of days to practice 90s and becoming using a Lego truck and tractor trailer with a set of lanes made up of quarters out of my spare change can (that's a single man's benefit for you married guys out there :) ).

Yesterday I arrived at my school for what I found out would be my final opportunity for backing practice at the school before test day. I was also asked to see our school director before going out to the backing yard to practice. If you have ever had a feeling in your gut that this was "one of those talks" one based on your performance etc. You know what I am talking about, my performance with backing so far has not yielded a CDL, that should be enough said on that, my story is included here if you want details and anve time to read.

Anyway, I went in and sat down with him. He started off by talking about integrity in the trucking industry and how he had seen it decline over the years and that in his opinion it started at the top levels of management (executive level). He went on to say that he wanted to be different from that and that he wanted to be transparent with students.

He mentioned that he remembered the time sitting with me in the backing yard our second or third week of training trying to help me back and that he had to yell at me to use my mirrors (that did happen by the way, I will attest to it) and that he and I were two stubborn types of people. He mentioned how he has issues with organizing paperwork and documents (desk stuff) and similarly I was on the opposite end of the spectrum - analytical, logical, basically an intelligent thinker. He mentioned that when it comes to backing that these types tend to have the most issues with it as versus say a 18 to 25 year old uneducated farm kid. He mentioned that those are the types that really have the best success in backing (and reading between the lines trucking).

He mentioned that it's really hard for him to break someone like me of the overthinking habit of backing (meaning a middle aged guy who used logic and analytics to have a modicum of success in the corporate world). He questioned if I would really be happy in trucking (I admit it would be fair to ask that of someone who has had the level of backing struggle that I have had). He also filled the conversation with as much positive as he could put. He wants my best interests and is concerned.

Those were the main points of it as far as I can remeber, I am horrible at remembering verbal conversations and being able to transcribe and communicate them accurately and fairly I admit. Being the type I am I always seem to miss key details or misrepresent stuff so I am putting as much fact (as I can remember it) down and not extol on it too much, so as not to be untruthful or negative etc.

Lastly he mentioned that he was giving me the option to either test or walk away and not test. He mentioned he would be okay with either choice. He wished me well in whatever the outcome.

I told him bluntly and point blank through red teary eyes, that I was going to test. I was not going to be the guy who later in life on either his death bed or a nursing home with regret wondering should woulda woulda. What would have been. I told him I would take the fifth test and what happens would happen. I am going to have integrity through this and later in life when I tell my story it wont be that "oh you know trucking man, I tried but it was too hard man, you know I couldn't do it, I should have taken that last test BUT.....:

No no no no no no no NO!! I dont want to over think that takl, but if you ca read vibes like I can, I basically understood he was done with me. He fully acknowledge the hard work and effort both the school and myself out into this journey and he thanked me for it.

I dont know about yall, but I can read things and read between lines and discern. I am an intelligent man, I am not perfect, I am not rich (materially), I am a bit rough around the edges I admit, which is why I also had a hard time in the corporate world. High level jobs these days in Corporate America are awarded (and yes that is exactly what happens) based on a who you know not what you know basis. I never knew the right folks, had the right family pedigree , fit the right clique, say the right things in exactly the right tones of voice etc. I was always more self reflective and honest, which is why I stayed at a call center type job even though I tried and tried to advance out and interview out and had the hands on experience to do other jobs within the company I worked for for over a decade.

Things work out for a reason or dont. If trucking ultimately does not, it wont be because I quit or didnt take that last test!

Yesterday, the same day of said conversation, I hit the backing yard like a mad man and made several 90s within what would have passed by state of oregon standards. I'm working with my Lego tractor trailer as well and using a trucks simulator game to keep fresh.

I've also told myself if I dont pass i wont quit , I'll look at company paid training (which to be honest I should have done in the first place! Oh well lesson learned).

When all this is said and done I will have a helluva lot of wisdom to impart on younger generations, wisdom that is sorely lacking and desperately needed!

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Yes, Moe, it's true: backing is simply observing what your trailer is doing and you make some adjustments. Keep your overthinking activity to a minimum. What I have seen in many students is they are not sensitive enough to how the trailer twists behind the tractor. Then they over steer/ over correct.

I know you have maybe five things to watch all at the same time as you do your backing, but here's another one: as you turn the wheel, watch the front of your trailer, watch whether it moves left or or right. When your see that motion, be ready to make the next move.

Moe's Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone for your kind words, generosity and support. Unfortunately I did not hit the mark today (90 again). I was so very close (I was told in my post exam debrief) and was basically in the hole but I doubted my position with the truck and trailer at the last second and it costed me.

I now have to wait till September of this year to try again. I also had some, what I would call unprofessional experiences at the beginning of and during the the test that frankly did not sit right with me this time.

Long story short - the fee for examination in the state of Oregon increased by $10 from $160 to $170 , my PRIVATE school never communicated me of the fee increase and I was almost not allowed to test because of it. The examiner also told me that the schools had been notified of the change - my school never told me of the change. I got an exemption from the examiner's boss, who by the way frankly and bluntly told me that I was the reason why he was there because I was on my fifth test and would have to wait a year (like I didn't know that already). I was also told, while the instructions were being read to me that when I was done with each back I was to turn the engine off, that was I guess a new thing as we had never had to do that before on the previous tests. I did not make a big deal of it, it really was small potatoes. So I did as the examiner asked.

WELLLLLLL - after my straight back was done and completed ,i took my GOAL walked around the truck , got back in the cab and situated and turned the engine off as directed. The examiner walks up to me, with an almost clueless look on his face and asks - "So is this the final position I should be checking?: I simply stated "My engine is off" at that point he nodded and walked away. The examiner's boss comes marching straight up to my cab window and basically admonished me saying "Moses if you continue to give my instructor attitude I WILL CANCEL YOUR TEST RIGHT NOW UNDERSTAND ME??" Frankly at this point, between the whole almost not being allowed to test in the first place fiasco I was starting to get more than a little hot. But I vowed to remain calm and as professional as I could, I decided to take the high road and I apologized right then and there.

But during the examination , the examiners were walking around chatting to each other in front of my truck and I had to wave them away several times and even then they moved very slowly.

I pointed out on the 90 - I almost had it , in fact - had I just held my wheel a bit more tight left I would have had it and I should have used a GOAL to verify. Sucks to remember after the fact now about 5 hours later. The things that happened before and during the test shouldnt have gotten to me but maybe I guess they did.

I was also told after the exam that my school would work see what opportunities were out there that they could help me with same with the examiners boss - I am frankly not putting too much stock in it based on my experiences with them up to this point.

So now here I am , back to square one , trying to plan my next moves. I need a couple days down time and start fresh monday , I think I will take a three day weekend and go from there fresh Monday.

I may not also log into TT for a day or two I need a break from trucking period for a while.

Just to be clear, I dont hate on trucking - I actually enjoy driving the big trucks. I just went about things the wrong way and maybe I need to examine if this truly is for me. It wasn't because I did not try, I can honestly and truthfully say that.

But I am doubting if I have the grit for this industry.

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.
Tim F.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry to read this Moe.

This chapter of your adventure called life appears to be closed. Onto the next chapter.

Put your head down and move forward in a positive direction. Good luck!

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