Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Topic 27910 | Page 6

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Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

4/23/2020: Delivered building materials; drove to Petro in Kingsland, GA.

Got up and delivered the building materials. Another Prime flatbed had a load similar to ours and he unloaded first. It took all morning for them to unload because they had to do it piece by piece. We got done about noon. We did not have a load assignment, but we headed north at our FM’s direction. I negotiated that same intersection on my own this time. I thought I might have more room because we were turning left, but no dice. I stopped again when I saw my trailer was going to hit the utility pole. Then backed up putting the passenger side trailer wheels up on the curb. Then pulled the tractor steer tires up on the curb before the intersection then swung wide to drive up on the curb after the intersection and made it with just inches between the trailer and the utility pole. On the way north we got a load that my trainer did not like, picking up in Savannah, GA and delivering in Maryland. We kept heading that way until our FM got a new load going from Jacksonville, Florida to Irving, Texas. We stopped in Kingsland GA at the Petro here. Prime Road assist has a work order for us to get the trailer fixed. It took about 30 minutes to get it fixed then we pulled into our spot for tomorrow. We will back track about 40 miles in the morning to pick up insulation in Jacksonville, Florida.

231 miles in 4 hours 6 minutes.

Fm:

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.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

4/24/2020: Johns Manville insulation; drive to Biloxi, MS for the night.

We got to Johns Manville about 8:00. You check in on an I-Pad and they take the trucks in the order of check in. A message board said average time on site was 4:00 hours. They were about right. There were several Prime flatbeds there, all picking up insulation to take to Amazon’s new fulfillment center in Irving, Texas. Met Richard Dyer, who is a very experienced flatbedder. We helped him secure his load because 1) we were doing anything else, 2) moving him along quicker helps us move quicker and 3) I learned a lot from him about securing and tarping an insulation load as well as kingpin settings for Florida.

After about 4 hours (they were right) we got on the road headed to a Pilot near Biloxi, MS. Along the way, a snapping turtle was crossing the road in the right tire lane of the left lane. I was in the left lane already and had to straddle him to avoid hitting him.

Drove the 18 mile long Atchafalaya Bridge over the Atchafalaya River basin as well as a tunnel underneath the bay. Very interesting scenery.

Just before we stopped for the night, we saw a flatbed rollover. We had stopped for a 30 minute break and my trainer took over. When we were pulling onto the on ramp, up a head on the side street, someone ran in front of a flatbed truck. The driver swerved to avoid hitting the pedestrian and rolled over. Pretty eye opening.

478 miles in 8 hours 14 minutes.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

4/25/2020: Biloxi, MS to Dallas, Texas.

Pretty easy day today. We had less than 600 miles to get to our stop for the night and we will be able to take another 34 before we deliver the insulation on Monday.

Louisiana was mostly flat and boring.

When we got into Texas they had checkpoints at the border. All passenger cars are routed into a rest area and checked. They had similar checkpoints in Florida. All commercial vehicles use the left lane to bypass the checkpoint, because we’re special.

The drive today was pretty uneventful, other than running over a box spring. A pickup truck in front of us had a mattress and box spring unsecured. I saw the box spring float up into the air and watched to see where it would settle. It landed diagonally across the right lane. I pulled onto the shoulder but I didn’t want to get my right tires too far on the shoulder, so my left tires were in the right tire lane of the right lane. I ran over the corner of the box spring with my left tires, thinking that if I just ran over the corner with the left tires, it would not get up into the suspension. I looked in my left side view mirror after we ran over it to see the corner of the box spring crushed flat. When we stopped later on, I checked the tires and suspension. No problems.

My trainer wanted get something at Lowes. So I navigated the Lowes’ parking lot at exit 465.

When we got to the Pilot for the night, I tried again to back into the spot, but I keep getting my set up wrong. There was a discussion about backing videos on the forum. One had the “Swift Academy” glove drop. The problem with that method, and backing in the real world generally, is that you have other obstacles other white lines and cones. The glove drop hasn’t worked because there is not enough space to pull forward to get the trailer lined up. Each time I think that I have pulled far enough beyond the empty spot where I want to park, I end up needing to cut my wheel too far to the right, which pushes the rear of the tractor and the passenger front corner of my trailer to the passenger side.

Like the Willis Brothers say “Give me forty acres and I’ll turn this rig around.” With all the space in the world, backing a trailer is relatively easy. It’s when you have multiple obstacles to watch that makes it hard. Rob T said, you need to have your head on a swivel when you’re backing.

I think that I’ll get there, but backing at a truck stop is a lot more challenging than on the training pad.

587 miles in 10 hour 10 minutes.

3054 miles in 7 days since last 34 hour reset.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

The glove drop is a trick...all it is, and like so many others (that I’ve long forgotten) it’s primary intention is to enable just enough to help a student pass the CDL backing test. I agree...doesn’t really apply to the backing puzzles you are facing now...

Repetition is the only sure-fire method for learning backing proficiency. Hundreds and hundreds of repetitions...Unlikely you’ve had more than 25-30 Real-world backs at this point. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It takes time.

As such; the devil truly is in the details, and the detail involved with tight backing situations as you describe, is precise setup. Stay tight to the row of trailers on the side where your spot is...it’s the only way you’ll be able to clear the opposite rows or obstacles, as you trace a pivoting arc into the hole and your truck as viewed from overhead, looks like a boomerang. Trust me...there is enoug space. Knowing how to make the best of it is what you are challenged with.

We often talk about purchasing a toy semi truck...this is actually more helpful now, when trying to figure out the best approach to real-world examples. You will get it, no doubt.

Enjoying your diary Rob! Continued safe travels.

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

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
backing at a truck stop is a lot more challenging than on the training pad.

Infinitely more challenging, but it sounds like you're definitely up to the challenge. Just remember to never get in too much of a hurry.

Btw, you're really pumping out the miles, with some interesting sights and experiences as a bonus.

Very good diary. Keep on rockin it!

Mitchell C.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm jealous, seems like your psd is pretty much tnt and here i am waiting in my room for a call to start my tnt phase. Sharon already got her trainer, she took her test Saturday, guessing she also trifecta.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Spaceman Spiff's Comment
member avatar

Nucor stickers, gotta catch em allllll

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm jealous, seems like your psd is pretty much tnt and here i am waiting in my room for a call to start my tnt phase. Sharon already got her trainer, she took her test Saturday, guessing she also trifecta.

you got more pad time AND your CDL

I think by the end of TNT you won't wish you had more.

We should get a load taking us to Springfield next

See you soon.

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.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

4/26/2020 to 4/27/2020. 34 hour reset, deliver Amazon load, pick up ranch equipment.

Spent our 34 hour reset at the Flying J at exit 472 off I-20 in Dallas. Walked to the park next door that has a small walking path and got off the truck for a bit. It was nice to get off the truck a little, walk, and see nature.

Monday, we delivered the load of insulation to the Amazon in Irving, Texas. A little windy pulling the tarps off the truck but no big deal. The breeze made it feel good. After a while, we got assigned a load of ranch equipment out of Mount Pleasant, Texas. We got there mid-afternoon. The trailer was pre-loaded with squeeze chutes and corral fencing. They even had the straps pre-threaded through the equipment. My trainer has his own red straps, so we had thread his through the equipment following the same pattern of the existing straps. After everything was secured we headed out.

This was a repower load that we were taking to Springfield where another driver would pick it up and deliver to the receiver. After unloading at Amazon and securing the ranch equipment, we were running out of our 14 so we had to stop for the night short of Springfield.

4/28/2020 to 4/29/2020. Finish the drive to Springfield. Pad time.

We drove about 225 miles to Springfield. We had to wait at “inbound” for them to rotate the tires on the trailer. Whenever, you come to a Prime terminal , you go through “inbound” which is the building where they check the truck and trailer in, and (in the COVID 19 world) take your temperature.

They also will inspect the truck and trailer, and in some circumstances perform maintenance on the truck and/or trailer if it can be done quickly. They rotated the tires on the trailer while we went up and got some straps to replace my trainer’s red straps.

They had the CDL examiners taking temperatures so we talked to two of them while they rotated the trailer tires. It was nice to meet them outside of the testing circumstance to see they are real people.

After dropping off the trailer, we went to the pad for some training. I had not done the alley dock before, so I learned that. After about two hours, I pretty much had it down.

Touched base with my TNT trainer, who sounds like a good guy. He is from Alabama and about my age. I am his first TNT student. We went over expectations and it sounds like we will be a good fit. We specifically addressed sleeping in the bottom bunk and my amount of space on the truck. So it sounds like my good luck with trainers may continue. Later on he texted me about the schedule. He wants to take some home time before he picks me up. So, he wanted to know if he could pick me up Sunday. Told him that would work great because I would like to get home for a few days before TNT. So we agreed that he would pick me up in St. Louis on Sunday, provided that his FM approved.

The next day we did two sessions of pad time, practicing mostly alley dock and parallel parking. At the end of the day, I put the cones at 61’ to challenge myself. With a 48’ flatbed trailer you’ve got only about 4 feet front and rear. By about 5 p.m. we concluded I could do all the backing maneuvers.

Trainer dropped me off at the Campus Inn. I watched a little TV: Gran Torino. Then called it a night.

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.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

4/30/2020: Test day; Trifecta; Home time.

Got a good night’s sleep and met my trainer at 6:00 a.m. Then headed over to the practice pad for testing. We checked in and my CDL examiner was one of the one we had talked to the day before yesterday. My trainer set up the truck and we waited for the CDL examiner.

I got the engine compartment in addition to the coupling system, lights, and in-cab inspection. 47 out of 47 points on the pre-trip.

For backing skills drew, blind-side parallel parking in addition to straight line backing and offset left. For my offset left, I was not lined up properly after I had moved the trailer to the left and then lined up on the green cone. So I did a couple of bump moves to get better lined up. After I got lined up straight into the lane, I was not happy with the alignment of my trailer. So, I used a pull up to get perfectly aligned and spaced between the lines. Straight back behind the lines, set the brakes, and sounded the horn. For the parallel parking, I again was not lined up on the red cone to my liking so I did a couple of bump moves to get better lined up. Even after that I was not completely satisfied with my alignment. So, I used a pulled up to get pretty much perfectly aligned. Backed it in, pulled forward a little to get straight and perfectly aligned in the box. Then got out and walked around the trailer to make sure I was in the box. Got back in the truck and pulled the air horn.

My two cents on the backing and "use what you got" mentality. You get two pull-ups and two G.O.A.L.s for offset and parallel parking. They emphasized during training, if you're going to use a pull-up make it count. Don't pull up a little. Pull up until you are aligned properly or all the way to the boundary line if needed. I would add that don't just use a pull-up to get yourself out of a bind. Use a pull-up to make the rest of the maneuver easier. Two of the pull-ups I used were to get my alignment better so all I had to do was a straight back after the pull up. In both circumstances, I could have made adjustments to get better aligned. However, after I used those pull-ups I was PERFECTLY aligned and only had to do straight backs after the pull ups. In addition, if I was still misaligned after the pull up, I just gave myself that much more room to make adjustments on the backing. With regard to the one G.O.A.L. that I used, I pretty much knew I was in the box, but I had two G.O.A.L.s after I was in the box. I got out, took my time walking around the truck to make sure that I was all the way in the box on all sides. Then got back in the truck and blew my horn.

Zero points on the backing.

Went out for the road test. Stopped too close to the car in front of me at Kearney. Got a point for that. He asked me about the bridge weight. I hadn’t seen a sign, so I guessed 60 tons. Got a point for that. I was nervous about cancelling my signal too early, so I got a couple of points for cancelling my signal too late. I was nervous about exceeding the speed limit, so I got points for going too slow. All total, 7 points on the road test.

TRIFECTA!

Cha-ching $250 bucks. AND, I got a Blue Parrot B450-XT headset from my PSD trainer.

The relief of having that behind me was great. My trainer took me to the Campus Inn to get some documents I needed for my hire paperwork. When we came back to the training pad, I had a whole different perspective on watching students practicing their back. That’s all behind me now. I said goodbye to my PSD trainer and went in to get processed for hiring.

I needed to go get my CDL license. They have opened limited DMVs here in Missouri, beginning April 27, so I was able to get my CDL, license with tanker, hazmat , and doubles/triples endorsement. Went back to the training pad desk, where I completed my hire paperwork to become a Prime employee and get my purple badge. For those who don’t know, purple is Prime’s signature color. I recall reading that it has something to do with Bob Low’s mother’s favorite color.

After completing the hire paperwork and confirming with my TNT trainer about Sunday pick up in St. Louis, I got on the road for the drive to St. Louis. I called the wife to share the story of passing my test (I had already texted her) and she jokingly said “so you’re on your way home.” She was ecstatic to hear it wasn’t a joke. I was coming home as a newly employed Prime flatbed driver.

Got home and had to spend a few minutes petting my dog Rosie who was crazy with excitement before I could hug my wife.

At the end of the night I was exhausted. More from the emotional drain of the testing and excitement of completing this step of my journey. All in feeling pretty good.

I will post later this weekend summarizing my thoughts so far. I experienced some of the frustrations that you often see posted in the forum, but as I stated in my first post, I have not shared those in this diary because I chose to focus on the positive.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.

DMV:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

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