Mentoring Done ... Going Solo ... Nervous As Hell

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Liahos I.'s Comment
member avatar

Mentoring done ... going solo next week ... scared and nervous

The five week training period (mostly team driving) was grueling. My mentor being an owner operator didn't believe in even wasting a minute. The wheels had to keep turning, time is money. Any way, it's over and I've learned a lot of things, seen a lot more and understand a good bit more. Yet, now that I am going to be on my own, I am really nervous. I've not hit anything, nor have I got any violations so far, but I am very afraid that something could go wrong and I could just blow it. If it wasn't for fear of the random drug tests I'd be tempted to take some tranquilizer. As the time approaches (I got a few days off after training) for me to start as a solo, I am feeling less and less confident and more and more apprehensive. Will I be able to back into those narrow spaces? Or will I block the traffic for half an hour getting out to look a hundred times, and still mess it up? A few days ago I thought I had done well, but now I'm not so sure any more. It's really nerve wrecking to think about.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

We all felt the same way starting out. Don't worry about how long it takes you to get it as long as you don't hit anything. Yesterday I watched a trainee struggle to do a 90 for about 25 minutes in a spot that wasn't tight (atleast for an experienced driver). Their trainer was outside the truck giving them the opportunity to figure it out and help make sure they didn't hit anything. Most companies will give you appointments with plenty of time on them to help you get a handle on things early on. Don't think for a minute that you need to rush everything because you're losing money if you're spending time on the drive line, or on duty trying to hit a spot. Thinking like that cause you to get burned out and result in you having backing accidents and lose even more money sitting down with safety and taking more classes. If you have loads that allow it stop at a truckstop during the day and take advantage of the nearly empty lot in an area that you'll be out of the way and practice hitting a certain spot. Be sure you visualize trailers in front, and the sides of the spot you want to hit so you don't get sloppy. There will be many times you want to throw in the towel early on. Stick with it and it won't be long until you truly enjoy everything this career and lifestyle has to offer. Even those really tight docks. You know how to do it, now it's just a matter of executing. Early in my career I spent a majority of my time delivering downtown. At first I was worried about holding up traffic like you are. Too bad for them, there were plenty of times I had to block one of the main drags in during morning rush hour so I could hit a dock down there. They'll get over it, you're not the first truck to hold up traffic at a certain place and you definitely won't be the last. Regardless of what happens keep a level head and don't let anybody being impatient force you to abandon your training and get careless. If it takes an hour or only 2 minutes it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is doing it without hitting anything.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Five weeks without an incident, while running hard AND all you’ve learned DOES make you better than a lot of others.

FEAR NOT!

During your time off, consider the situations that were difficult or tense and how you handled them. Keep those in mind as you head back out and BE CONFIDENT.

Congratulations!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

It’s gonna be ok man. Believe me you got it. First few weeks and months will keep you on your toes for sure. Relax, don’t panic, take your time, and put that trailer where it needs to go. I swear after the first time I got in a pickle and looked over at that empty passenger seat looking for advice and none was there to be give I thought about getting a plushy or something lol. You WILL be ok!

Leeva804's Comment
member avatar

Mentoring done ... going solo next week ... scared and nervous

The five week training period (mostly team driving) was grueling. My mentor being an owner operator didn't believe in even wasting a minute. The wheels had to keep turning, time is money. Any way, it's over and I've learned a lot of things, seen a lot more and understand a good bit more. Yet, now that I am going to be on my own, I am really nervous. I've not hit anything, nor have I got any violations so far, but I am very afraid that something could go wrong and I could just blow it. If it wasn't for fear of the random drug tests I'd be tempted to take some tranquilizer. As the time approaches (I got a few days off after training) for me to start as a solo, I am feeling less and less confident and more and more apprehensive. Will I be able to back into those narrow spaces? Or will I block the traffic for half an hour getting out to look a hundred times, and still mess it up? A few days ago I thought I had done well, but now I'm not so sure any more. It's really nerve wrecking to think about.

Just take your time man. I did extremely bad when I first started backing. Hell, I never thought I would be this good after only five months driving a tractor trailer. It all comes with time and practice.

G.O.A.L for sure. Honestly I’m in a day cab which are easier to back. But even a standard tractor I could back into any spot now because I fully understand how the tractor swings now and how to correct.

What really helped me excel into getting better at backing was to learn how to pull up with slight adjustments. Even if you pull up just a niche it can help with your swing.

There will be times you can’t pull up so work on knowing how to setup correctly. I’ve seen drivers at the DC take long to back into a easy spot between two trailers. Sometimes they take so long I just jump out and tell them to pull their tandems all the way back. They do it and nail the backing so much easier. So watch out for tandems being all the way forward. Lots of drivers struggle to back with them forward. I can do it now but even I prefer when possible to always back with them all the way back. So much easier. Good luck out there

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Georgia Mike's Comment
member avatar

I started solo in April. I still didn't know how to back very well at all. The stupid question is the one that is not asked. People will help you back in. Ask veterans questions. Relax its a job not prison. The other Friday I shutdown at a Walmart and went bowling right across the street. Get out of your truck during your 30. If you're on your 34 reset get an uber to a flea market or d&bs or if you can afford it get a hotel room. Im not saying be lazy and go on vacation but try to make it where you don't feel like a prisoner in your own truck. You got this man. Keep us posted.

Mike C.'s Comment
member avatar

Man............................. I feel like I coulda written what you wrote and your fears. I've completed my 6th day of training (with a trainer) and learn something it seems every moment. Currently at a Loves in Idaho and have had my first lessons re driving in mountains from Joplin, Mo. to SanFransisco. If driving a truck solo only consists of driving forward on straight and level interstates, perfect daytime weather and no backing into loading/unloading areas and no tight backing at truckstops, well then, I got it...........no sweat. BUT.................that just aint what it is.

Sure, I'm looking forward to solo in a few more weeks or so but I sure do share your anxiety and your fears. My biggest challenge/struggle at truck drivers school and to date has been backing and I am not looking forward to maybe making a fool of myself while demonstrating how much of a klutz I am at it.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

Mike C it’s all gonna be ok. Like I posted above my first few weeks I was all nerves. While I am by no means an experienced driver and green I have learned to relax a bit. It is hard at first . There is a curve. But you have made it this far. And will make it further. Just be patient and take your time. Can’t wait to hear more about your journey

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Anyone that says they were confident about going solo is a big fat liar. We were all nervous to some degree. Take all the time you need. Wether it’s backing or driving, You can do it too slow as many times as you want. You can only do it too fast once. Others might get upset, but they’re not the ones responsible for your truck.

If you make an error stop and calm down before making it worse. Trouble happens when your adrenaline gets going. You’re going to make a wrong turn. What happens after that is all up to whether you panic or slow down and make a calm decision It’s in your control.

Check and recheck your route plan write down turn by turn directions. Have a plan for your next stop and a couple of back up plans. My trainer told me to never release the brakes Without a plan for where you’re stopping next. That’s always stuck with me.

You’ll be fine, keep us posted on how you’re doing.

Dean R.'s Comment
member avatar

Mentoring done ... going solo next week ... scared and nervous

I was a little nervous when I left the yard on my own, and I don't really go that far. Nervous and excited at the same time. I was already under stress from other life complications but I kept my head straight and drove. Drove like a grandma, so I heard. Almost made a bad mistake not turning wide enough on a right turn but caught my error in my mirrors before it was too late.

On my first solo I had to drive a 71' foot truck into a grain storage flat warehouse full of metal poles and backup to a loader in a fog of corn dust. Then I had to drive out again winding around those poles. That was a confidence booster for sure.

You got this! You already know how to drive safely.

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.

OOS:

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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