Start Date With Roehl GYCDL Program - Gary, IN Terminal - 8/24/20

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Verminator's Comment
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Hello everyone!

My start date with Roehl has been moved up a week to next Monday 8/24, so I'm posting this introductory note a bit sooner than I expected.

I was lucky enough to stumble on TT a few weeks ago, just after I had signed with Roehl. I studied the High Road CDL Training program, thanks to which I obtained my CLP with no trouble.

I know it's been said many times before, but I want to thank Brett for creating this site, as well as Old School, G-Town, Kearsey, Turtle, Errol V., and all the other moderators hereabouts. In a very short time I've been able to learn a great deal about the business, and the truth about what being a truck driver really means. I now feel I have a huge head start in knowing some common attitudes and pitfalls to avoid, and have had the benefit of learning from so many of you, without yet even having set foot in a truck. I've read just about every post, listened to every podcast, and tried to absorb just about everything I could scour off the site.

Like many before me, I'm both nervous and excited, but looking forward getting started.

I'll be joining Roehl's national flatbed fleet.

Will keep you all apprised of my progress.

Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of the TT family.

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

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to the Trucking Truth site, Verminator. Many will be following your start there at Roehl.

What terminal will your be training be?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Verminator's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, PackRat.

I'll be at the Gary, Indiana terminal. It's about a hour and half north of me - I'm in Lafayette, IN.

Just got a new rear tire on my bike, and she's all set, so looking forward riding up there on Sunday.

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.

Anthony D.'s Comment
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I will be in Gary on 9/14 for National Flatbed as well. Looking forward to reading about your time and maybe we will get a chance to meet.

Badgerland's Comment
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Good luck out there. I'm going into week 2 of training with Roehl up at the Marshfield terminal. Lots of information in a short time.

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.

Verminator's Comment
member avatar

8-24-20 - Day 1 of training is in the books!

Checked in to the hotel yesterday afternoon (Best Western Inn in Hampton). Room is nice, no issues. Ice machine and laundry on this floor are out of order, but I can use the exercise taking the stairs ;).

My class consists of nine total students, with three instructors (Norm, Jim, and Kenny). All are very personable and sincere.

Today consisted mainly of paperwork (various Roehl disclosures & documents, W-4, I-9, etc.)

We also completed our physical capacity tests, which I had some concerns about. These proved unfounded. The tests consist of five separate exercises of five reps each (L & R knee bends, L & R arm swings above the shoulder, and crunches) on a machine which measures & dynamically adjusts resistance proportional to your input force. The harder you push, the harder the machine resists. You are encouraged to give your maximum effort. The instructors provide verbal coaching and feedback along the way. Among my class are every level of apparent physique, size, and musculature. Everyone passed without issue. I think that provided you have an average range of motion in these areas, there should be no problem. The test is summarized here.

Lunch was provided by the on-site cafeteria, where meals are cooked and/or prepared to order. Everyone agreed the food was good - I heard no complaints. Students are provided with a sign up sheet for each day of the week on Mondays to select from about 15 choices. There are also other choices available in the cafeteria, but students are responsible for any difference in cost above $10. One option today was Calamari & chips!

After lunch, we spent some time on the simulators, which are pretty darn cool. They use a mockup of a truck instrument panel, and are complete with all three control pedals, steering wheel, and shifter with splitter. The sims use a forward main screen approx. 48" across, with two side screens set at angles on your left & right to provide an immersive 180 degree view. The images are impressive and it's a lot of fun. The sim is designed to give you a feel for shifting, and yes, you can grind the gears. Ask me how I know. I have had some (long ago) experience in double clutching , so it was not too difficult for me. The only time I became flustered is when I would miss a downshift, and then try to grab higher or lower gears, rather than just revving a bit higher and trying again.

Following the simulator time was some basic info regarding legal issues pertaining to drivers (mainly involving alcohol & other drugs), and truck nomenclature.

It was stressed several times of the importance of having the Pre-Trip Inspection committed to memory by next Friday. We were given a copy to study with specific wording required for Indiana. The High Road Training program has given me a huge head start on this, and most of it is already familiar. Thanks again, Brett and everyone.

I'm very satisfied with Roehl so far, and eager to get back tomorrow!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

The terminal in Gary is the only one with a grill. It was my favorite terminal when I was at Roehl.

Glad Day #1 went well for you. Continued following your progress...

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Verminator's Comment
member avatar

Day 2 - 8-25-20

Today was all classroom time, spent on learning The Roehl Way, and the Roehl Safe 7.

The material was presented as a mixture of live instruction, video, and slideshow media. The instructor (Will) was entertaining, knowledgeable, and kept the class very engaged.

Today's classes really drove home to me the gravity of the responsibility all CDL drivers hold. Particularly moving was one video from the VP of Safety, who asked each of us to imagine that in the next few minutes, someone came to the classroom door, pulled us out of class, and gave us the worst possible news we could imagine. He then paused for several seconds to allow each of us to think about that situation, and to imagine what that news would be. Noting that most of us probably envisioned that the news would be regarding the death of a loved one, he asked us to then imagine that WE were responsible for someone else receiving that kind of news.

I'm not attempting to be dramatic, but for me at least, it was a very emotional experience. The instruction today made me even more determined to be a safe driver, and to never allow myself to become complacent about safety. My long term goal is to join the Million Mile club on the terminal wall.

Much of the Roehl Safe 7 is (as the instructor indicated) common sense, and the seven individual concepts have been used before in many different driving systems such as the Smith system, various defensive driving schools, etc. I was previously a test driver for BMW, and was put through their B2 advanced driver training, which incorporates several of the Safe 7 ideas. The Roehl Safe 7 simply brings all these critical behaviors together in an easy to remember system.

Later in the day, we began completing paper logs for our training time, and discussed HOS rules & regulations. We also received our photo ID badges and gate cards.

At day's end, we were provided with hi-viz safety vests, and had a brief tour of the yard, including our first look at the practice driving areas, and at our training trucks.

Our instructor advised that tomorrow morning we would begin by performing our pre-trip inspections on our training tractors, followed by our first trips bobtail driving around the yard.

I can't wait!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

8-26-20 - Day 3

First day of driving!

My group (three students, one instructor) were directed to the practice range, where we took turns driving our tractor bobtail. Our truck is a fire engine red 2018 Freightliner Cascadia which has been modified to have three bucket seats in the sleeper section, rather than a bunk. Two students observe while one student drives, and the instructor rides shotgun, offering instruction and advice.

Things went well overall. One student in our group had a very difficult time with shifting in the beginning, but with continuous instruction, he was shifting much smoother by later in the afternoon.

Later in the day, we were directed to bobtail around the yard, which introduced the added factor of traffic - from virtually every direction!

I had some problems with downshifting (grinding or unable to locate a gear), but am learning to rev the engine a bit higher than I would think necessary in order to get the downshifts to drop in smoothly. Our instructor encourages us to "kill that spider" - imagine a spider is beneath the accelerator, and to stomp it good! I also have a bad habit of deep clutching and engaging the clutch brake, which I am working to overcome.

Between driving times, we are also practicing our pre-trip inspections.

Tomorrow we will be driving with a van trailer. Looking forward to it!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Badgerland's Comment
member avatar

Take it 1 day at a time Verminator you're doing good! I'm in week 2 up at Marshfield. Day by day you'll get better!

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