FNG With Stupid Qestions

Topic 28307 | Page 1

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Mike C.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, Last Tuesday I passed the state exams (third try) and on Friday got my actual CDL license. Really happy about that.......BUT...............I'm worried about some stuff. Back in the stone ages (I'm 75) I flew airplanes........long-long-long time ago. Because I was able to solo initially,that did not say I knew what I was doing I was legal to fly the airplane. I liken my passing the state CDL to my airplane driving in that well yeah, I'm legal, but does' that certify that I actually know what I'm doing?

This morning I spent time in an industrial park looking at loading docks and the like. How much room to manipulate the trailer safely. How much room between the other trucks and trailers parked Real world kinda stuff that I'll have to be able to do safely and without other drivers flipping a coin to see who is first to punch me in the nose.

Is this worry normal? I graduated from Tampa Truck Driving School which is an outstanding school with outstanding instructors however, I'm a big boy and know the differance between being legal and truly being qualified.

How long in the real world (give or take) does' it take for a driver to actually be a competant and safe operator?

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.
IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

There's a reason why we tell people to go to companies with a school....you sign up to do a year and it costs you nothing but that time. It gives you a good deal of experience.

I went to an independent school 32 yrs ago to get my Chauffeur License and ended up learning by the school of hard knocks. I drove only team almost 5 yrs and got off the road for the next 22 yrs. Went to another independent school to get my CDL. Fortunately, being in my 60s, I have settled down and have more common sense now. While backing wasn't a problem when I came back, I realized when I went solo 2.5 mths after getting my CDL that I had a lot to learn with trip planning, logs (paper) and a bunch of other things. I ran those 2.5 mths with my brother and didn't learn much from him as he had 8 mths experience and no winter in the mountains. It took a good 1.5-2 years to learn and feel confident being by myself.

Laura

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Is this worry normal? I graduated from Tampa Truck Driving School which is an outstanding school with outstanding instructors however, I'm a big boy and know the differance between being legal and truly being qualified.

How long in the real world (give or take) does' it take for a driver to actually be a competant and safe operator?

Mike, it's an astute observation, and it is probably due to your long life of experiences. Becoming a competent truck driver takes some time. That first month out here on the job is nothing short of being extremely stressful. A lot of people get blindsided by those initial difficulties and quit during their first 90 days.

No matter how great our schooling, it is done under controlled circumstances and situations. We always have help immediately available to us, and we are not in some completely new environment every single day. Getting established as a trucker is very challenging and very rewarding. Take your time to be safe. That is the most important factor for a new rookie.

Being effective and proficient comes with repetition and exposure to the many variable factors of the job. I was actually thinking about this topic as I was driving this morning. I've been out here for a little more than seven years now. I'm just now feeling real comfortable with my abilities. Just saying that bothers me though. You never want to be complacent or over confident. There is a certain level of awe and respect one always needs to maintain for the responsibility required in this job.

Backing is every rookie driver's nemesis. It's just complicated at first. Putting these monsters in place for unloading at some of these facilities can be really challenging. I always tell people to give it a year or maybe a year and a half. At that point you can probably get it backed in just about anywhere. It might not always look real pretty, but you'll understand what you need to do to get it in there.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Mike it's absolutely normal to get nervous about it. Allowing the nerves to overcome you is where you'll get into trouble. I approach every back to the mindset of other trucks have delivered here, why cant I? It may take a while to get it in there but as long as you don't hit anything you've done a good job regardless of how long, or how many pullups it takes. You may be cussing up a storm about their poor planning when they built the facility but you'll feel great after you get it in there. Most drivers take 6 months to a year or more to be fully confident in their abilities. I've been driving almost 3 years and somedays I'm amazed how easy a real tight docking maneuver went. Other days it takes a couple pullups get to get my trailer straight in the dock!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

It took me 2 years to really get backing... and we all still have bad days.

Mike C.'s Comment
member avatar

Beginning 4 May there were ten of us in the class. After the first week we took the exams for our permits. I aced the exams really fast while others struggled but all did pass and we all got our permits and reported to "Phase 2" Phase 2 = straight backing, offset backing, and familiar with all aspects of the tractor, trailer, and coupling. Everyone except one lady and I passed Phase 2 in one week and went on to Phase 3. If it began or ended with "Backing" I was awful. Took me two weeks to just barely pass Phase 2 and go on to Phase 3. Phase 3 = actual driving of the truck with an instructor, total familiar with "In Cab" and all inclusive including "TTDS", "SALE", and testing on all aspects of the Truck, trailer, coupling and my ongoing nightmare, "Backing" and in this case in particular, "Alley Back"!!!!!!!!!! After flunking the state test twice (Backing) I did finially pass on my third and last bite at the apple, last Tuesday.

So, happy as a pig in poop that I did pass and got my CDL , there is the reality that I'm faced with in that anything beginning or ending with "Backing" I'm paranoid. As mentioned I understand "Legal" vs. "Actual". I'm legal with a CDL but white knuckles as I face the real world which includes safely and successfully backing the trailer into tight spots.

So, I beg ya'lls patience while I bore you with my fears of appearing some kind of idiot behind the wheel while backing.

Oh, the other person, the lady who began with me on the first class, 4 May, she also passed last Tuesday as well.

Some did it in three weeks, others took alot longer.

I dont guess it's a perfect science, but we all passed eventually.

Thanks for letting me ramble

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.

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