In CDL School Getting Really Discouraged, Is It Time To Call It Quits?

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Zach 's Comment
member avatar

I'm in my third week of School, I missed half of last week due to a family emergency so I guess you could say 2 and a half. I am starting to feel like this is not for me, my shifting is awful, I've stalled the truck out more times then I would like to admit and got my head screamed off my the instructor for doing it, today I was only able to ally dock once, I keep messing up my air brakes, my parallel parking is horrible, it seems like the only thing I can do right is the pre trip. I'm not making progress sometimes I master something and the next day I mess it all up. I have already paid for the school and am driving over an hour eveyday to get there by 6 AM and it's costing me quite a bit in gas. I feel like this is unachievable for me, there's so much I'm not understanding and the instructors aren't really very helpful, what do you guys think is it time to call it quits and throw in the towel before I end up going broke? I really want to do this but I also understand and respect that not everybody can.

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.
Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I'm in my third week of School, I missed half of last week due to a family emergency so I guess you could say 2 and a half. I am starting to feel like this is not for me, my shifting is awful, I've stalled the truck out more times then I would like to admit and got my head screamed off my the instructor for doing it, today I was only able to ally dock once, I keep messing up my air brakes, my parallel parking is horrible, it seems like the only thing I can do right is the pre trip. I'm not making progress sometimes I master something and the next day I mess it all up. I have already paid for the school and am driving over an hour eveyday to get there by 6 AM and it's costing me quite a bit in gas. I feel like this is unachievable for me, there's so much I'm not understanding and the instructors aren't really very helpful, what do you guys think is it time to call it quits and throw in the towel before I end up going broke? I really want to do this but I also understand and respect that not everybody can.

Awhhh, Zach !!

I'm one of the 'night owls' on here, due to my driver/hubby's schedule, but I'll offer you this:

First of all, if you have already PAID for school, ... and quit early ... could you get any money back, pro rated? How many weeks in, and how many to go? 'PAID' schools are just that. Paid. They get your money, and teach you the minimum to get your plastic. (CDL.)

Second of all, why didn't you come to Trucking Truth first, and go company sponsored schooling? Some companies (ie: Prime!) PAY YOU to train with them, and you'd have a J O B at the completion of training. (It's not too late to go that route, ya know!)

Trucking along with Kearsey (her name on here, and on YouTube) started with Prime. She sucked at all the above, you mention .. out the gate. YET, she is our ambassador for Prime (well, really ANY company) as to what a true success story is. She is now a trainer, and on their advisory committee, and a Highway Diamond (a female acknowledgement for Prime.) She literally lost her tandems early on in her career. Yessir.

I don't think 'throwing in the towel' is the answer, as far as you HAVE come, Zach.

If you were to apply to Prime right now, out the gate, you'd lose a bit of coin, BUT . . . YOU'D BE PAID, from here on out (almost, anyway!) Another 'paid' training is Roehl (Pretty sure, still..much has changed and/or does on a daily w/Covid.) Roehl (say: Rail) has a short training session, as opposed to Prime.

JUST TWO examples!

Read these links, and peruse some of our SUCCESS stories on here... please! Head up in the daylight, on the pillow tonight, and hang in there. More seasoned folks will be around tomorrow.

If you simply CANNOT sleep, check out Rainy's (her 'old' name on here) YouTube videos. Here's a link to one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfQD14qXKes

Others for your perusal, from TT :

Wish you the best, Zach~!!

~ Anne ~

good-luck.gifgood-luck-2.gifgood-luck.gif

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.

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".

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Don't give up, we all sucked at first. Regarding shifting don't sweat it. I struggled for over 2 weeks occasionally stalling it, and struggled downshifting from 10th to 9th for some reason up until test day. Nearly every company out here is running automatics so you're unlikely to do with driving stick but it's still a good thing to not have the auto only restriction if possible. Your backing is going to suck for atleast 6 months to a year. As long as you don't hit anything you did a great job. There's days I'm able to hit really tight docks no problem and other days I can't hit an easy dock with all the room in the world. We all have days like that. My instructor thrived for perfection far more than what the state was looking for. His reasoning was by practicing a PERFECT setup if we were off a little bit it'd be close enough to still get it in the box. You've already spent the money on school. Would you rather throw all that money away over the roughly $100 you'll spend in gas to complete the program? The state exam is only to prove you can SAFELY operate a vehicle. There's hundreds, if not thousands of people getting their CDL daily. The auto fails I'm aware of is forgetting any part of the air brake system during pretrip, stalling truck, hitting curb, breaking traffic law, coasting (staying in neutral more than 1 truck length) or being involved in an accident. If your shifting isn't great you'll get points but it won't be the reason you fail unless you can't shift any gears. What really helped me learning in a 10 speed is to stay 5 MPH below the speed limit. Doing so had me at the correct RPM to drop down a gear if needed without needing to brake. My instructors taught us to start in 4th gear, take turns and come to a stop in 6th. Others prefer to start in 2nd or 3rd to lessen the likelihood of stalling.

Has your instructor given you a "mark" to aim for with backing? My instructor had us start backing and when we had the proper angle we were to look in mirror to see find a mark to know when to make our next move. I haven't parallel parked into a marked spot since school 2 years ago but if I recall correctly we backed up straight parallel to the box we were going to back into. For driver side, When your back tires are even with the front cone you cut the wheel hard RIGHT to make the trailer go left. Continue backing slowly until your passenger side rear outside tires barely crosses into the box. Then cut the wheel hard left to bring the cab over into the box. Pull up and you should be in. With every steering wheel turn come to a complete stop.

Please don't give up. It's much harder than most people think it will be. This career is extremely rewarding and many people regret not getting started earlier in their life. This job has provided extremely well for my family in ways I never thought possible. Please stick around and let us know how everything turns out and ask more questions. You'll want to throw in the towel many times the first year. DON'T do it. I promise you it gets far easier and if Over The Road doesn't interest you there are a ton of different ways to use your CDL to drive these big trucks and have something that fits you.

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.

Over The Road:

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.

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

First off, don't quit. We have all had these problems. Many of us passed out CDL test on the third try. Ask for help and relax. You can do this.

For others wanting to get into trucking, this is a perfect example of why we support and recommend Paid CDL Training Programs.

Why pay and drive every day for what you can get for free? With these programs the company has a vested interest in your success.

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.
Deb R.'s Comment
member avatar

I paid upfront for a 10-week course at a Wisconsin Technical College. MONEY WELL SPENT. Folks on here sing the praises of company training, but I was extremely happy to have gone the route I did; after graduating, I could go wherever it suited me, and chose a company that offered tuition reimbursement.

To your question - stick with it! It can be surprising discouraging some days, just hang in there. Be stubborn about it, of course you suck at it sometimes, you're on a big learning curve right now. And heads up - that learning curve continues once you are out in the "real world". You will continue to make mistakes, just keep your cool and keep safety #1. One of my instructors said "At the end of the day, if you didn't hit anything, and nobody got hurt, it was a good day." That is so true.

I learned to drive a big truck at age 57, just turned 63 and still at it, I average 3,800-4,300 miles a week. It is achievable if you are determined to do it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Zach, Don’t quit!!!! My experience was similar to yours. I also attended a private school. I had (and still have) challenges. The key is DO NOT GIVE UP. I failed my CDL test twice. I kept asking my school if can continue to “practice” with them. I passed my exam and I am now in TNT training with Prime. The most important thing I learned throughout my process was to NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!! Give yourself time to learn this industry. As my trainer would say “don’t be so hard on yourself”. I am half way complete with my TNT training. I keep telling myself “don’t give up”. Remember everyone learns’ at a different pace!

Good Luck, Penguin ~ Maureen

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.

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.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Zach you choose to do this for some reason. Are those reasons still releavant to you??? School is not easy, and your first year will not be either. As said this is a huge learning curve. We all have good days and bad days. That is just the nature of life, not just trucking. Relax and apply yourself.

I’ve been at this 7 years now and still learn something everyday. If you really want this you can do it. Learn from your mistakes and show consistent improvement.

Wishing you the best!!!good-luck.gif

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Every single day I wanted to quit. Here I am 5 years later with an awesome DEBT FREE life and do what I want with no pressure in a job that doesnt feel like I have a boss.

My biggest problem is deciding when to go home, where to vacation.... And if and who I want to take as a student.

Check out my playlist for training tips and encouragement.

I have a video where I tell of my CDL exam failures. Big deal it is over.

PS.. My YouTube channel proceeds go to charity so just watching the videos helps feed needy people.

smile.gifthank-you-2.gif

Considering CDL School? What You Need to Know

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.
Banks's Comment
member avatar

The reason not everybody can do this isn't because of skills, it's because they can't handle the lifestyle and the impact it has on your normal life.

Struggling with skills is nothing new and you're the not the first person to go through it and you're certainly not the last. I received 1 on 1 training for 10 hours a day for about 6 weeks and I struggled more often than not.

I stalled out going from 2nd to 3rd in the yard all the time. I stalled out going up hills on the road and in heavy traffic. By the time I finished training, I was shifting like a pro. My shifting probably sucks again because I haven't done it in so long.

My backing sucked too. It took me almost 3 days (1 on 1 for 10 hours a day) to learn how to do a 45 and that was still bare minimum to keep moving forward. The only thing I had to do to move forward was 3 in a row with 2 pullups. By the end of the week I was good and on Monday I sucked again.

As for your instructors, some teaching methods don't mesh with how you learn. Can you request another instructor? The best thing you can do is not give up. If it doesn't go your way, then consider paid CDL training. You'll have people on your side that have an interest in you passing because they get paid on the back end. There's a reason you don't pay a contractor a full fee upfront.

I wish you the best of luck and please keep us updated.

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Zach, Don’t quit!!!! My experience was similar to yours. I also attended a private school. I had (and still have) challenges. The key is DO NOT GIVE UP. I failed my CDL test twice. I kept asking my school if can continue to “practice” with them. I passed my exam and I am now in TNT training with Prime. The most important thing I learned throughout my process was to NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!! Give yourself time to learn this industry. As my trainer would say “don’t be so hard on yourself”. I am half way complete with my TNT training. I keep telling myself “don’t give up”. Remember everyone learns’ at a different pace!

Good Luck, Penguin ~ Maureen

Sounds like you have a great trainer. I hope he/she screen shots this for you and shows it to you when you get frustrated and yell when backing.

rofl-1.gif

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.

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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