Goose’s Swift Journey Into Trucking

Topic 27853 | Page 1

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Ubergoose's Comment
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Howdy all,

To give you all some background, I have been towing cars and trucks for the past 4 years. Technically I was driving trucks that required CDL but due to the nature of the calls I was doing for the police there was a CDL exemption law in my state. I’ve always wanted to try out trucking, as I’m attracted to the lifestyle and didn’t mind the initial pay cut.

I started my journey with Swift earlier this year, going to the Richmond VA academy. I found out that my recruiter was much better than some of the ones my classmates had. I had my physical done at a Concentra, which their recruiters didn’t tell them, so my whole class of 11 minus me had to redo their physical. The classroom portion was alright, slow going but I understand they had an hour requirement by the state to fulfill.

The range was pretty good, I picked up on backing quickly (it wasn’t much different than what I was doing just either a longer trailer or one less pivot point) and road driving was a breeze. The month went by and I went through testing at the academy and the DMV and passed both first try. Not going to lie, even though I was confident I was red as a beet hopping out of the testing truck haha. I almost screwed myself up on the offset as the testing lot at the DMV had a major slope to the right so my trailer ended up being maybe an inch off that line. I was watching it the whole time and used my GOAL to confirm and didn’t have any issues. This ended up happening to a few other people testing.

I got back home and had a whole ordeal trying to get my physical license. Between my state just starting to do REAL ID, and my out of state testing it took me 4 trips and about 35 hours to get it done. Not to mention about $100 in tolls and gas. But whatever that’s the DMV for you. They tried telling me I failed the permit test, which was quickly determined that I passed after the lady that did testing came over. Makes my head hurt lol...

The same day I got my physical license Swift found me a mentor. I headed out to the terminal and had a hotel for the night as my trainer would be arriving the following day. He got delayed a bit so I ended up spending the whole day at the terminal. I finally got on his truck and he drove about an hour to a truck stop to get some work done on the truck.

Since then I’m about halfway through my training. I have about 100 hours of driving logged, and all my 40 backs completed already. I found the alley dock really easy so I’ve been having no issues with docks and truck stops. I had an older driver come out and compliment me on my backing and when we got talking he was flabbergasted that it was only my fourth day driving a semi haha. Definitely a confidence booster as I’m not always sure of myself even when I’m doing well.

It’s been relatively uneventful, we’ve had a few breakdowns. I had to cage a brake chamber to limp the truck off the road to a safe location before breakdown could get there 3 hours later. It was leaking to the point where the truck would lose all air in about 45 seconds. Showed my mentor how to do that. There was a major accident and they were sending everyone off the highway, so I had to find an alternate route. Drove about 5 miles on another state road before getting back on the highway. I’ve driven through some boroughs of NYC, the tight streets of suburban New England, and the mountains of West Virginia.

We had a trailer that was doglegging pretty bad (but still safely within the lane). They wanted us to take it to the next drop and then they’d take it in the shop, so I used an old trick I learned while towing to at least make it a little better. Sometimes it helps sometimes it won’t. It did a little in this case.

All in all everything’s going pretty well. My mentor hasn’t had much feedback other than showing me some helpful tips to set up better for my backs. Not going to lie, the automatic on the Kenworth was really frustrating at first. If I was backing into a dock with an incline I was either rolling forward or launching backwards. I’ve found the centimeter in the accelerator the truck likes now though.

I’ll keep you guys updated. I’m having fun so far.


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.


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.


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.


Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.


Operating While Intoxicated


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.

Rookie Doyenne's Comment
member avatar

Hey Ubergoose, welcome to Trucking Truth! Awesome that you'll do a Swift diary. All that detail in your first post is great. And that light-hearted attitude is a good tonic, right about now.....good-luck.gif Wishing you the best in this new chapter of your driving life!


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.

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