My CFI Training Tale And Solo Truck Assignment.

Topic 28161 | Page 1

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RWD's Comment
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Well I just completed my first week as a solo driver and it has been eventful. It all makes sense to me now when I would tell another driver I'm new or about to start training. They always had that smile, a smirk almost like they knew what these first experiences as a truck driver would be. I'll start off with some details of my training and eventual upgrade.

I started with CFI and the training went pretty quick and somewhat smoothly. I had a good trainer who really wanted to make sure I learned things the correct way. A few times when backing issues I was so frustrated I almost quit. I even told him at one point take me back to Joplin, I've had enough. He talked me into not doing that, whether he actually cared or just didn't want to lose out on money it doesn't matter. I apologized to him for getting frustrated and carried on. Lucky for me he was clean, orderly, my age and we got along pretty well so the rest of the time went very quick and I actually upgraded 5 days early, I only did 20 days instead of 25.

I did my testing and it was downpour raining in missouri that day. This made the obstacle course, backing tests and everything that much harder but I still passed. Hooray. I didn't have much time to celebrate because after that my trainer took me around the terminal everywhere to get some gear, truck assigned etc., and in that process I got soaking wet. Then I find out the only truck they have for me is in our terminal near Dallas, Texas. So I had to carry all my belongings onto the shuttle to Enterprise rent-a-car. Due to Covid-19 enterprise had everyone standing literally out in the rain. All my stuff at my feet getting soaked along with myself even more soaked. I was maybe 5th in line and finally got a car. Awesome, I'm out of the rain, now a 6 hour drive.

I go to put my phone on the charger in the car, it won't charge. It's been damaged from the rain and is dying. I'm stressing big time at this point because I am going to have to call my fleet manager when I get to the terminal, communicate with the company etc. I find a random ass AT&T store (my provider) in a small town in oklahoma. Stop in, sign a new contract and buy a new Iphone 11. Alright, one problem solved. I drive the rest of the way to the terminal to move my stuff into the truck before returning the rental. I move all of my stuff from the car to the truck. I begin checking out the outside of the truck, like a pre-trip, everything looks pretty good. Get inside and at this point I'm super excited. My new home. All mine. I put the key in, crank it up and low and behold, the dash lights up like a christmas tree. Check engine light, a wrench light, warnings on screen saying service immediately due to several different errors. I immediately turn the truck off and call road service. I read them the warnings and they said that truck will need to be towed to Dallas for repairs, we will get you a hotel for now until it's completed. Damn.....

I got set up in a motel 6 down the road from the terminal. It honestly was the nastiest place. I would never complain to the company because I mean I am getting a free hotel but I'm just stating facts here. They only had a smoking room, the comforter had stains, there were burn holes in EVERYTHING, towels had hair on them, it just wasn't a pleasant motel at all, but hey I have somewhere to stay. I lay my head down to sleep after a super long day, I am exhausted and just before I fall asleep, moaning from the next room, LOUD. Lovely end to the day.

The next day I'm hanging out when someone from truck assignment calls me to assign me a different truck and it's ready now. So I take an uber down to the yard and there she is. Looks good, smells good and no warning messages or lights. I'm finally on my own.

This was pretty long, I just completed my first week of solo and wow, I did not anticipate the stress and problems as a new driver AT ALL. I'd like to make another post telling you guys about that too in a day or two. I'm still at it though, learning every day.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations.

I just had a conversation with my friend, who trains for CFI, about his student that just graduated. The student messed up his clock and was unable to complete a multi-stop load.

Afterwards the student remembered his training. The point is we have so much info shoved in our heads during training and it comes back after every rookie mistake we do.

You are doing great. When I got my truck it was full of dog hair and needed new batteries. But it all worked out and I drove that truck for over 250,000 miles.

Keep up the good work. When times get tough remember to breathe.

Don's Comment
member avatar

RWD, those first weeks solo can be very stressful. Being brand new and just learning how to trip plan and/or actively revise your plan, finding your shippers and consignee's for the first or only time that may be 1000's of miles away, managing your clock, and how best to manage your time so you are not sleeping at all odd swing hours are all the tip of the iceberg. If you were fortunate to have a trainer who was serious about his duties in actually training you, then consider yourself lucky. Also, lean on the veterans at CFI, including Big Scott, for opinions, recommendations and "insider tips" for routes or customers that CFI serves. Big Scott was very helpful to me any time I asked him for help. I was not OTR very long, but learned something every single day that has helped me as local driver. My current position is more like a glorified Delivery Boy, going to the same customers, taking the same routes and working the same hours. It does not come close in scope of difficulty in what OTR Driver's do. Good luck, hang in there and learn every single day.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Guy B.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow! Gotta be uphill from here!

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