Roehl Driver Training From Start To End.....

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Wine Taster's Comment
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Well, I guess it is my turn to share my experience of driver training. Many people have posted their experience before me. They have given me insight as to what to expect. Tomorrow, the first day of training will begin. Training has already been taking place. The High Road CDL training program on here has given me a lot of knowledge that is invaluable. As I pass through the school doors, I do so with fear, excitement, and confidence. The confidence I would not have had I not been prepared. This site has helped explain what to expect.

Now, the time has come to step up to the plate, stare the pitcher in the eyes, see the ball move toward the plate, and take a swing. This has been a very big move for me. Leaving behind a career of over 20 years is hard. The stability of what was there is gone. Even though every day of going to work for the past few years was hated, it still was a stable paycheck and decent benefits. My previous career had it's low's and high's just like any other career. The apprehension of leaving it is still very strong, Sometimes, in life, we have to make a change. Life is too short to travel through it not enjoying what you are doing.

Tomorrow, the new adventure starts.

Now for all of you that are just starting out.....

Here is a step by step list of what I have done to get to this point.

1. Explore, read, ask questions. Decide if being a trucker is truly right for you. This is not a job you just do for a paycheck. It is a lifestyle that affects you, your family, and your friends. Don't take this step lightly. Also, consider if your background and driving record will allow to be a trucker.

2. So, if you answered yes to the above, start studying. The High Road CDL training on here is free! Use it! You will be glad you did.

3. Decide if you want to go to a company sponsored school or a private one. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Read about the differences at the link on the top of this page "Becoming a truck driver."

4. Start applying to companies and schools. Get letters of pre-hire. Ask a lot of questions. You can make the decision of when, where and which school whenever you want while you are doing the next few steps.

5. Get your DOT physical done. Roehl paid for mine. Study some more as you prepare for school. Use the High Road CDL training on here!

6. When you are ready, go to your local DMV and test for your CDL - A learner's permit. You will have to test general knowledge, air brakes and combination. ( I am in NC so the next steps may vary from state to state a bit.) I chose to test for every endorsement I could. I was ready because of the High Road CDL training program on here. I passed every endorsement that I was allowed to take. (thanks to the High Road training.) Passenger, tankers, and twins (double and triple trailers). In NC, I was not allowed to test hazmat until I had completed my TSA background check for HME (hazardous materials).

7. I went to a universal enrollment center for the TSA. Look on the TSA website for information at http://www.tsa.gov/stakeholders/hazmat-endorsement-threat-assessment-program. Some states do not take part in the enrollment so read and find out for your state.

8. Once my TSA check came back clear, I was allowed to test for my hazmat endorsement. Hazmat will not go onto your learner's permit. In NC, the passing grade for the test will remain on my record for 90 days. That means, as long as I get my full CDL - A before that 90 days, it will have the hazmat endorsement.

9. Now the CDL - A is done and all the endorsements are done. The last step is to get a TWIC card if you need it. Many people do not need it. I know Roehl requires their flatbed drivers to have one. I am going flatbed so I got it done. If you got the HME done with the TSA then it is pretty much the same process. TWIC can take a few weeks so beware!

10. Now is the time to put the rubber on the road. Decide which school to go to. If you are going to a private school then you can take more time deciding which company you should work for. Keep applying to companies. You may find an offer that is beyond what you expected.

11. Set your attitude to learn. Go to school. Listen. Work hard. If you fail at something, learn from it.

So, I sit here in the hotel in Marshfield, WI. It is the coldest winter they have had on record from what I have been told. There are mounds of snow everywhere. It is beyond cold! Southern boys do not understand this type of cold. Why would anybody choose to live here?

Roehl was a good fit for me. It may not be for you. Explore. Roehl has three phases of training:

Phase one: CDL - A school for three weeks. Phase two: 13 days with a trainer on the truck. The trainer does NOT drive. When you are driving he or she is in the passenger seat. Phase three: You are assigned you truck and a fleet coach. It is someone you can call for help.

Roehl paid for the hotel and my DOT physical. Food is not provided. You start getting a paycheck when you start phase 2 or training. You have to sign a contract unless you pay the tuition up front.

Tomorrow, I will post Training at Roehl: Day 1 in this thread. The goal is to give back to others information of the knowledge that has been passed to me. Hopefully, someone will find the information helps them along in their quest.

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.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

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.

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.

Bee-RAD's Comment
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We are here. I look forward to your thoughts and observations. Thanks for taking the time and applying the extra effort in what must be a terrifically busy schedule.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 1 or training:

Well, to be honest, I did not sleep well last night. I went to bed around 2130 and was fast asleep. Of course, I forgot to take my protonix medication before going to bed. So, heartburn set in and awoke me from a deep sleep. I did not have any jitters before going to sleep. After waking, the jitters set in and I started waking up every few hours.

The alarm goes off at 0500. We have to be at the school at 0700 which to me means be there at 0645. 15 minutes early is the proper on time for me. Once I figured out where to park and walked in the door, I started looking for where I was supposed to be. Just so happens the first door on the right, I happen to see my name card on the desk. I walk in and said, "Well guess I am in the right place if my name plate is here." Kevin my instructor greeted me. He asked for some documents to make copies. Passport, driver license and CDL learner's permit (they are the same card in NC), birth certificate if I did not have a passport, and because I had my TWIC card they took that too. They gave us each a key card to get into the gate at Roehl and told us where to park from now on. Then Kim, the recruiter, came in. She is a genuinely person. She asked each student to come with her one at a time. We had to turn in contracts. Pay the $185 fee. She answered any questions, if you had any. Just be very aware.... absolutely no alcohol use on school or hotel property. Basically, NO alcohol while you are in school. Once done, we loaded up in van to go take a pee test for drugs. I was surprised they did not do the hair follicle test

Once all that was done, we started into a power point coving the class and school rules. We were given a course synopsis, given a pre-trip guide, post trip guide, and textbook that is ours to keep. Kevin and Scott are the instructors and we have one additional student instructor. Kevin will be the instructor for Bill, Mike and I because we are all going flatbed. Scott will have Andrew and Brad because they are dry van. I was very happy to hear we would get some training on pulling the flatbeds. Once this was done, we were told to take a break, move our vehicles to the parking spots they had showed us and to meet the instructors at the concrete barriers in the parking lot.

From here we entered into a garage building. We have this space to do pre-trip inspections so we don't have to be outside. It was 9 degrees today! Scott, Kevin and Gary took turns going over different aspects of the pre-trip. It was very surprising to me just how much information I already knew. Thanks again Brett for the High Road CDL training. After we finished up the pre trip inspections on the tractor, we took an hour break for lunch.

We come back from lunch and meet back in the bay with the trucks. We had a short discussion about APU's (auxiliary power units) because I asked a question about them. Then we fired up the trucks and headed outside to the range. We cover how to properly connect to the trailer and did the pre-trip check again covering the trailer this time. Kevin, said we had had enough information overload so he would cover the inside of the truck pre check tomorrow. We got on the range and Kevin taught us how to double clutch. Watching him do it, I was thinking I will never figure this out. So, after a couple of rounds around the loop, he put Mike in the drivers seat. Each of us got a turn to make two or three laps around. It was surprising how well we did. We were grinding some gears but eventually we started to get it. Kevin, is a great instructor. It shocked all three of us, the trailer really does off track a lot. Wow! All in all, I was really nervous about the double clutching and driving but it was really not that bad once you got going.

Next we covered the proper technique for uncoupling the trailer. We did a complete post trip check. Once done, we rode and Scott parked the rig back in the bay. We are not allowed to drive through door openings! He instructed us to read the first 7 chapters tonight! We will have to read 5 chapters each night after tonight until we are done with the textbook. We have a written test every Friday. It was a long cold day with a lot of information.

It really was intimidating before we got started driving. Now, I am more than confident that it will go well. The butterflies are gone. The professionalism, pride and care these guys take as being instructors is very apparent. The next couple of weeks will bring some frustrations and challenges but it is nothing that any one of us can not handle. At the end of week two, we will do out test for the DMV and get our CDL -A. Then we have some class work the last week. Time to get some sleep, we have to be there at 0645 each day for the rest of the week. Week two, we have to arrive at 0630 and week three at 0615. It is a grueling schedule. Stay tuned! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

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.

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APU's:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 2 of training:

Well, today started out with the alarm firing off at 5 AM. We had to be at class at 0645. That means be there at 0630 to me. Well, it snowed again last night and it was still snowing this morning. I got to class only going sideways in my little pickup truck twice. We were to meet in the bay where the trucks were parked. When I arrived the week 3 class was already in the bay with their instructor. I went to our truck and started doing the pre trip inspection. One other person in my class arrived not long after me and we started doing the truck inspection together. The instructor from the other class came over and inquired where the other people in our class were. We said that we did not have not be in until 0645. He said it was good we were there early and seemed pleased. We continued our check and the other guys arrived. One of them was in the door at 0746 and the instructor that had praised us apparently gave him a razing before he got in the door for being one minute late. I don't think he noticed the other two guys in the class arrive even later.

Our instructor arrived, he drove us out to our trailer and we again covered proper hook up procedure. Then we did another complete pre trip inspection with the instructor watching and guiding us. Once that was completed, Kevin went over the pre trip check inside the cab. He showed us how to properly check gauges, check the brakes, brake pop out valves, warning alarms, heat and defrost, mirrors, etc. Once, we had completed all the pre trip inspections, we hit a snow covered range. We each took a turn doing circles again around the course practicing shifting. We each had over an hour in the driver's seat. Mike and Bill did pretty well. I did OK but my biggest problem is pushing the clutch in too far. You really don't have to push it in far on these rigs.

After we parked, our instructor asked us to get out our books. Each test at the end of the chapters that we read last night, we went over all of our homework answers on them. For the most part, we got most of them correct. There was some discussion on some of the questions. I guess we spent 30 - 45 minutes covering the material. We were told to read five more chapters tonight and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. After this we went to lunch.

After lunch, we completed another pre trip inspection. The repetition is really starting to help. I am positive that in two weeks I will have it down solid. Then we hit the range for some more driving in circles and shifting. I was not on my "A" game today for sure. I mean I was getting most things right and then I would glitch out for a second grind gears or turn too soon. Until shifting becomes second nature, it is hard to pay attention to all the other stuff. Sometimes you can overthink things as well. Kevin said we were doing very well and to not worry.

We parked the truck. Then we went through the post trip inspection. Then we did the unhooking procedure. We took the truck back to the bay and shut her down for the night. All in all, it was not a bad day. Kevin is a great instructor. I think we may be doing a little better than the other two guys in the other truck. Kevin said well tomorrow, you will get nervous when we hit the real roads. So, I guess tomorrow we will start with straight line backing and then some real road experience. If Kevin ask me what that bump was tomorrow, I am going to say "Mazda!"

It is a fast paced course but it does not seem that the information is crammed down your throat. It comes at a steady pace that is, for the most part, easy to learn. See you guys and gals tomorrow for the next segment of my journey. Thanks for reading!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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These are some great posts Wine Taster, thanks for doing this. There will be lots of folks who appreciate this stuff. A lot of people probe around in here without you knowing about it.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
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Very nice Winetaster. Yeah Marshfield is a very cold place this time of year. Tell Kevin I say hey....Your very right he does a great job, and cares a lot about the students......Scott is good too, but sometimes can get a little intense...I guess it's the former cop in him....Have fun with it and welcome to Roehl.....

Wine Taster's Comment
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Thanks guys! I was so tired last night I forgot to post.

It really isn't that hard of work but it is very mentally exhausting. You do not realize how tired you are at the end of the day until you lay down on that bed in the hotel "for just a minute." Next thing you know, the alarm for day 3 is going off.

Day 3 of training:

Day 3 started out just like day 2. We did our pre trip inspection in the bay. Then we went over the hook up procedure again. P.A.L. Pin - you make sure the kingpin is coupled correctly. A- connect the airlines (and electrical connections). L - raise the landing gear. Then we do another complete pre trip inspection. We get in and do the in cab inspection.

Now, we hit the range again for more circles making left turns. Kevin says our drug screens should arrive today and then we can hit the real road. After Bill, Mike and I each take a turn behind the wheel. (I am still deep clutching it somewhat.) We park and get our books out. We spend an 30 to 45 minutes covering our previous night reading assignment. Then we break for lunch for an hour.

When we come back from lunch, we do another pre trip inspection. Once we are in the truck, Kevin starts teaching us the 4 step approach to making a proper right hand turn on the road. He draws on the windshield with dry erase makers. He show us proper turns like a button hook. He shows us improper turns like the jug handle. After all questions were asked, we headed out onto the real roads. Kevin was driving and demonstrated what we should be doing. Here is the unplanned part of the day. We are travel a side street that has very little traffic. Kevin explains the emergency stop procedure as he stops on the side of the road. When we get ready to pull off, he releases the breaks and is telling us turn off the four ways and turn on your left turn signal. All of a sudden the low pressure alarm starts to sound. Well, Kevin turned the four ways back on and put the truck in high idle to pump back up. He rolled the window down and pressed the service breaks. Sure enough you could hear the audible rush of air coming from outside. We had an air leak for real. This was not a drill. Needless to say, Kevin drove back to the yard using the shifter to break as much as possible to not bleed the system too much.

Our truck went to maintenance, and we got to do another pre trip inspection on a different truck. We hooked up and because we had burned so much time, Kevin decided to do straight line backing. He explained the procedure to us. He said turn to the side of trouble. It made perfect sense to me and I was able to back fairly straight with ease. So, after we back, we uncouple and do our post trip inspection. We call it a day. 5 more chapters to read tonight (last night :D). Back at it at 0500 this morning. Class starts at 0645.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 4 of training:

Day 4 started just like the rest. Alarm goes off at 0500. I arrive at class between 06115 and 0630. We have to be in by 0645. Our instructor had said that we would be in whichever truck was running when we arrived because of the air leak our truck had yesterday. I find the truck running and start to do the pre trip. Then my classmates arrive and give me some razing because our truck was a few spots down from me running. Great! They did not know the mechanics had slipped it out of the shop after I arrived, so I let them have some fun joking that I was in the wrong truck.

We did our pre trip. Kevin, our instructor, arrived. We hooked up to the trailer and did the pre trip again. Then we hit the road. Mike drove first and we hit the real streets for the first time. Mike drove for about an hour and a half. He did fine. Mike has his full CDL - A and has driven big military equipment. Then I drove. Still deep clutch too much. Then I was not slowing down soon enough to downshift through the gears before getting to intersections. I found that I was rushing a little because I felt like I was holding up the people behind me. It is such an entirely different beast driving on the roads compared to the range. On the range, you really could just think about the shifting. On the road, you have to thank about EVERYTHING! What was the last road sign you passed? Start slowing down. Progressive shifting at the correct RPM's. OMG! That car just cut me off. Am I going to have time to get the turn done before the light changes? It was difficult. Kevin said we all did very well. I still feel like I did not do as well as Mike and Bill. It is still early so I will get it. We did our book work before lunch, same as yesterday. When we came back from lunch, we did the pre trip again. Then Bill drove. He did not get to drive this morning.

Back at the range around 1500. We were backing the truck through a serpentine. Kevin wanted us to get a feel for backing and adjusting. We all did pretty well. Then Kevin demonstrated the backing stations we will have to complete for the test. We will starting practicing them tomorrow. Kevin also said we will be doing some inner city driving tomorrow. Really? The pace is moving so fast but Kevin says we are doing well and will be fine. So, we park the trailer and do the post trip inspection and unhook procedure. The day is now done.

It is so mentally exhausting! So much information packed into a short time. Once you finally almost start to feel comfortable with something, they throw another challenge at you that makes you wonder if you were overconfident and really did need more time learning the last skill. Knowing that we will be pushed even more, makes it all a little intimidating.

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

Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

Day 5 of training:

Today started out just like the past few days. Alarm goes off at 0500. In the bay doing truck pre trip by 0630. When we got to the bay, it was kind of different. They were moving trucks around to get ready for the testing today. Each Friday, the week two students do their final test to get their full CDL - A. Kind of scary when I think that in 7 days, I will be testing. As you can see each day above, you will get a LOT of repetition in. You cover the pre trip inspections at least twice a day. That is a good thing so when it comes to testing, you will be like doing it sleep walking.

Anyway, we did our pre trip inspections and hit the road. In the driver seat, I was up first after we had coupled the trailer and did all inspections. My shifting was so much more comfortable today. It really felt like I did not have to think about it as much. I still missed some gears and grinded some but it was much better. It started to rain. The temperature was a balmy 31 degrees. Then we started to get ice on the backs of the mirrors. Time to slow down. Freezing rain. I drove for about two hours. Kevin had us drive through the downtown area. We took some tight turns and roundabouts. I had to deal with trash trucks, other trucks pulling out in front of me, and pedestrians. All in all, it went well. I made some mistakes but once I settled in, it went pretty good. I went as well as it could for a guy driving a big truck with only 4 days experience. Mike and Bill drove and they did well. We had a lunch break and pre trip inspections just like the previous days. Mike drove after lunch. After he was done, we went to the range and did the serpentine backing just to practice backing and to kill the last hour before we went into the classroom. Time for the weekly written test. It was 30 questions and we were allowed to use our books. I missed one question. It really wasn't that hard. I knew all the information from studying on here.

Made it through day 5. It still seems a little crazy to think that one week from today, I will be in a truck with someone testing me. Hopefully, I will be proficient enough by then to pass. It takes time to learn the feel of the shifting. Then you have to add the wide turns, railroad crossings, cars, trucks, people, and everything else that comes along on the road. It has been a fun ride so far. Looking forward to Sunday so I can just chill out.

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.

Jim M.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Wine Taster;

Thanks for a truly inspiring and informational set of first posts.

I am just beginning the process of deciding 1. If this is the career path I want to choose (after 25+ years of doing something entirely different) and 2. Which option sounds better - private, in-state school or company-sponsored training.

For me at this juncture, I am leaning toward the former, obtaining the skills, training, and licensing required by my state of CT through a private training facility, then settling in with a company through their course, training and hopefully a job. My only problem with this path is the money to fund the training, I don't have it being out of work for two months, I just have to keep reading, studying, applying, all the things you suggest and well praying.

Thanks again for a great journal!

Jim

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

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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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

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