Journey With Wilson Logistics - Springfield, MO

Topic 29314 | Page 9

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Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Also, just curious andrey, have you started your team training phase yet?

If you have, if you’ve been able to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, then my hat is off to you.

Insomniac or not, I’m sure there are hundreds here on this forum who will tell you that:

- every time you hit a bump, you will wake up. In fact, sometimes you go airborne off the mattress. - every time the truck slows down abruptly or takes a sharp curve, you will wake up. - every time the truck stops in the fuel line or rest area, the change in motion will wake you up.

I’d be shocked if anyone in this entire industry has managed a “safe” level of nightly sleep during their team training phase.

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

Also, just curious andrey, have you started your team training phase yet?

No, Eugene, I haven't, and I will not, because it is not what I signed for with my company. Also, "team training" is an oxymoron - the trainer is supposed to be awake when you drive and train you, it should not be a team driving. Yes, I didn't understand that you have to sleep while the truck moves. If it was me, I would just refuse to drive if I didn't have 7-8 hours of good sleep. Good luck!

Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Andrey!

Though many of the moderators can state the case more eloquently than I, I do have to respectfully challenge the notion that team training is an “oxymoron.” In fact, at least two of our moderators—Kearsey and Rob, if I’m not mistaken—are themselves team trainers, so they may bristle a bit at the insinuation that they aren’t fully training their students.

I have no doubt you’re receiving excellent training at Roehl, as it comes highly recommended on this site. But if there is no team training portion and the trainer is up front 100% of the time, that is definitely the exception in the industry, not the norm. Most major carriers require their students to go through anywhere from 30,000 - 50,000 miles — or 2-3 months — of team training before upgrading to solo. The reasoning in my opinion, is simple:

Truck driving is 100% an independent occupation, with little to no contact with co workers other than your dispatcher or fleet manager several times a week over the Qualcomm. Any problem or jam you find yourself facing, you have to get yourself out of without anyone to lean on for help. The trainer’s #1 responsibility is to prepare trainees for solo life on the road, the most important component of which is independent problem solving. I’ve learned more from my trainer NOT answering my questions than I would have had he held my hand every step of the way. Often I’ll get myself into a pickle while adjusting the tandems or calculating a difficult back, and he will stand their and watch as I flail about helplessly until I figure it out. Were he to simply walk me through every step, every single time, I wouldn’t be learning; I’d be following orders.

The “job” itself is actually fairly simple: trip planning, Qualcomm , dealing with shippers and receivers and paperwork, coupling the trailer and adjusting the tandems. These can be taught in just a couple of days, and in my opinion, don’t require a trainer to be at my side the whole time. As for driving the truck? Learning how to handle it and turn the wheel was taught during my D seat phase. In this phase, it’s definitely not necessary for someone to watch me hold a steering wheel straight for 11 hours, so they can safely be in the back.

And then lastly? Backing is a skill that takes years to master, and is learned best by repetition and practice. It isn’t taught in a classroom, on the backing pad, or in a few weeks with a trainer. Like 90% of the job in your first year, it’s learned on your own — with no one to help you — out there on the road. I’m glad I have this “training wheels” phase where I’m figuring mostly everything out for myself, with the comfort of knowing I have a trainer in the back to help me out of a jam.

If I had to go from full supervision to zero supervision, with no transitional phase, I’d probably never survive my first week solo!

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.

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".

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

James R.'s Comment
member avatar

I've been following your training diary and you keep referring to "seats". Can you explain those please?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

The “job” itself is actually fairly simple: trip planning, Qualcomm , dealing with shippers and receivers and paperwork, coupling the trailer and adjusting the tandems. These can be taught in just a couple of days, and in my opinion, don’t require a trainer to be at my side the whole time.

Well, personally I cannot see how all this can be done in "a couple of days," it may be be just me, and I am neither young, nor fast. Same applies to the driving part. Road is not the same - different surface, weather conditions, traffic patterns, signs, you may very well drive for a week and then see something new. If your trainer is sleeping, you will miss it. And I think if you guys take your 10 hours not at the same time, then he is mostly off duty when you are on duty. That is my whole point - I understand "training" as an active interaction, which is not necessarily following orders. For example, the first 3-4 loads my trainer went to the shipper's office together with me and did all the talking. Next couple times we again went together, but I handled everything myself. On week 2 I was going there alone. When I had a question, he answered, and so on. What if he were asleep? I agree with you about a sharp transition from a guided driving to solo, it can be diffucult. That's why at Roehl we have to do the last 5 loads fully solo. My trainer was silent, didn't guide me any guidance, and when I was backing he didn't get out of the truck. To summarise, I think all big companies are quite similar, and no matter how well they train us, we will have a tough first month when we start running solo :-)

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.

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".

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Andrey that doesn’t sound any different at all than how our training works. My trainer has obviously not at all been asleep for every minute of my duty time, if that’s what you’ve been thinking. And for the first week, he did everything while I watched, and then we transitioned to me doing pretty much everything. It just so happens that since we are dispatched as a team, we are dispatched on loads that need to be delivered quickly. Case in point: we picked up in San Bernardino yesterday at 0800 and have to be in Dallas today at 1730. No way that’s getting delivered on time unless we run as a team.

As for the point about missing an exit without a trainer there to correct you? If one is so clueless that they would keep on driving for 11 hours without realizing their mistake, and would need an awake trainer to correct them, forgive me for sounding harsh but trucking is not for them 😂

Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry I posted too soon. Even with opposite duty clocks, we have both been awake at the same time for the overwhelming majority of the last six weeks. That’s just how it’s worked out. Also, he usually needs to be awake whenever I am on duty at a shipper or receiver, because the biggest area I struggle with is my backing and he is always awake to help me with that.

To be honest, I’ve never once needed an answer to something that involved needing to wake up my trainer if he was asleep. I’m preternaturally skilled with trip planning—always have been—and when it’s my turn to drive for 11 hours, nothing has ever presented itself I’ve been unable to handle. That said, of course you are supposed to wake up your trainer if you’re not sure what to do

Have you read many other training diaries? You’ll see that most other companies operate this way. Roehl is truly an exception. Either way, it seems like you’re having a great experience!

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.

Eugene K.'s Comment
member avatar

Sorry, I completely misread your point about “driving for a week and seeing something new” and thought that meant you’d drive for a week if you got off at the wrong exit. Not sure how I made that connection 😂

Andrey's Comment
member avatar

Sorry, I completely misread your point about “driving for a week and seeing something new” and thought that meant you’d drive for a week if you got off at the wrong exit. Not sure how I made that connection 😂

Yeah, it is easy to misread me, I am still learning English... If I could write here in my native Russian, you all would be really surprised how smart I am :-)

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I've been following your training diary and you keep referring to "seats". Can you explain those please?

Yeah, can you guys explain 'seats?'

~ Anne ~

(too.)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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