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

Topic 2938 | Page 2

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Wine Taster's Comment
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Jim,

Look into Knight or Prime, they both pay you while you are training. Knight pays the best. If you don't have the money go through a company sponsored program. You make a little less the first year but your training is free.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 6 of training:

Today is Saturday. The last day of the week. We actually get Sunday off. A much needed break. When I say break, that is a day and a half off with 13 chapters to read and questions to answer. As well as map trip planning exercises to complete.

We were in class at 0645. We started out with a hazmat video that last 30 - 45 minutes. Then we had a test on the material. Aced it! I already knew the information due to the High Road Training on here. Then we were given our very own 2014 band new Rand McNally Motor Carriers' Road Atlas. Let the games begin. Our instructor, Mo, started by explaining each or the colored tabs. Then he covered each tab in detail. He explained the information and gave us tips about how to find things easier. He covered how the even interstate numbers go east to west. Odd goes north to south. West coast has high state route numbers and low interstate numbers. East coast has low state route numbers and high interstate numbers. My head is still swimming from all the information. We did a bunch of different exercises like finding how many miles you are going to drive between cities. How many miles you would drive on one interstate before getting on the next one. It is all very confusing. Mo said this was just to get us familiar with the atlas and that we would learn it better with our phase 2 trainer.

After the atlas class, we had a sign class. We went over hundreds of signs. Some I had seen, many I had not. It is amazing the variations of all the signs we have in this country. We also talked about the the pitfalls of GPS. He showed us slides from accidents where drivers were following GPS blindly and got in major trouble. It really was informative because they had the pictures of signs like NO Trucks that were along the routes these drivers decided to take because their GPS told them to. One of these drivers actually took a loaded truck over a wooden bridge that said weight limit 5 tons. It was clearly marked and yet the driver still did it because GPS told him to. The funny part is, the bridge held all of the 38 tons of the truck. Had it broken, the driver would have fell 30 feet onto railroad tracks. Well, guess how the company found out he went over the bridge? Just up the road, the driver took a right turn to sharp and clipped a barrier and tree with his trailer. When the police arrived, the driver was questioned how he got over the bridge. Needless to say, GPS is a tool to help you but not better than the human brain in your head.

We ended class at 1200. Mike and I grabbed some lunch and went to the store to get a magnifying glass to help read the maps. Yeah, it sucks getting over 40. The eyes are just not as good as they used to be. It was a pretty easy day. The only thing that still scares me.... we have 4 days of on the road training and then we will be doing our drivers test. All 7 of the guys that tested yesterday passed so that made me feel a little better. Off to do homework! Then I am going to find some much needed time in the hot tub of this hotel.

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

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 7 of training: (Sunday)

Today was a day off. Kind of.... Brad and I sat in my hotel for about 6 hours doing trip plan exercises. It was homework we had been given that needs to be completed by Wed. So, we decided to get ahead and get it done. About halfway through, we took a break and ran to Wal-mart to get food and stuff for the week. We finished around 1800. I went and hung out in the hot tub for a couple of hours before going to bed.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 8 of training: (Monday)

Wine Taster's Comment
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Oppps hit wrong button!

Day 8 training: (Monday) (Take two!)

Today started like the rest except earlier. Alarm clock 0500. At school by 0630. Last week it was 0645. We did our truck pre trip inspection. I did very well on the outside of the truck. The only thing I missed was the air compressor. The in cab inspection, I missed like 6 things. A day or two more and I will have it down. Kevin, our instructor was not there for the first half of the day. So, we spent the morning with Dave (instructor in training). It was helpful to get a different perspective. We did some right turn driving on the range. Then we did some straight line backing, our first attempt at 90 degree backing, and off set backing. I really think once we get the set up of each backing maneuver correct, the rest will fall in place. I am not as scared of the backing as I thought I would be. It is a challenge but I think the road driving test will be the hardest part to pass. After the backing stuff, we went to lunch.

After lunch, Kevin was back and we did some road driving. I was shifting better but still made some bonehead mistakes. Stuff like turning off my turn signal too soon, slowing down way to soon when approaching a stop sign. There are just so many things going on while driving. You have to listen to the instructor giving you directions, shifting, watching traffic, checking intersections with "dramatic head turns" (You do this for the test so the tester knows you are looking at the intersections.), checking railroad crossings, be able to recite which sign you just passed, etc. It is a lot. Sometimes, I am not sure if I will be able to do it all correctly enough on Friday to pass my CDL. I hope I can.

Time on the road and practice backing. The more time I get in, the better I feel. Only three more days of practice before the big test. We will see if I can be taught! That brings to an end yet another day in the life of learning to drive a truck.

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
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Day 9 of training: (Tuesday)

You guessed right. Today was much of the same. Alarm goes off at 0500. On the truck range by 0630. Pre trip inspection. I really think I have the pre trip down. The only part I am still a little rough on is the in cab inspection. I keep forgetting to check the steering wheel play and the stupid ABS lights in the cab and on the trailer. I got a few more days so I will get it.

Today, we did some more driving around town just like other days. The only difference was a little less instruction and some much tighter turns. I had one turn that Kevin said a lot of experienced drivers would have a hard time making. He said he has trained some drivers that came in from other companies and took them on that turn. He said they were like, "No way! Nobody can make this turn." It is VERY tight! You have a pole on the corner. When you make the turn, you have to use the far right turn lane to make it. What made it worse, the snow mounds are blocking about six inches of the road. So, I was skirting the snow bank and the trailer tandems literally are within inches of the curb and the pole. Guess what? I made a nice fluid turn and once my tandems passed the corner I cut hard right back to my lane. Upshifted and kept on rolling!

I still had my moments of bonehead moves and missed gears. I did realize that I am pushing the clutch in to fast after I rev for a downshift and that made a world of difference. The round a bouts are confusing. I do not have a round a bout at home and I struggle understanding where the instructor wants me to turn. I am slowly getting it.

After the morning of driving and lunch, we hit the range for some backing. The straight line back is fairly easy and really no trouble. The off set back is not so bad. Today, I was able to do it with very little instruction. The 90 degree back is tricky but if you get the set up correct, then it is possible. Backing went surprisingly well. Tomorrow, we will drive in the morning and do lots of backing in the afternoon.

The days are passing so fast now, Friday will be here too soon. The tester will arrive and my CDL future will be in their hands. Well, it will be in my hands but they will grade it. I still wonder if I will be ready but each day something clicks and I start doing better at it. Hopefully, by Friday, everything will be clicking. We will see......

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".

Jim M.'s Comment
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Wine Taster,

Love the daily posting of updates, really gives us a sense of all that is going on, especially your successes and advancements!!!

You're doing great, can't wait to congratulate you on Friday!

Keep safe and stay focused!!

Peace, Murph

Wine Taster's Comment
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Day 10 of training: (Wednesday)

This morning it was snowing again. As usual the alarm went off at 0500. I made my way onto the truck range before 0630. It was cold this morning. It had been super cold my first week here but this week has been nice. Alot of the snow mounds have shrunk in size. We started with the pre trip inspection. We did the in cab inspection. Then we hit the road. Did I say yesterday that I had some tight turns? Well, I lied! They were easy compared to ones I made today. I had to to a 180 degree turn. That means you take a right and then take another right about 70 feet later. I did great on the turn but screwed up my shifting. I got through it. We each drove for about an hour and a half. Then we went to lunch.

After lunch, we went straight to the backing range. Today, we are not given any instruction other than, "Let's see what you can do?" I did the straight line back with no problem. I NAILED the offset back with no pull ups or hit cones. Then came the 90 degree back. I grazed a cone which would cost me one point. I had a slight out of boundary which cost two points. Then I had a third pull up cost me a point. I got it in there. The testing Friday, we are allowed to lose 12 points for backing and still pass. Today, I only had 4 points so I think the backing will be the easy part. The actual road test is what I am worried about. I have been doing much better but I still glitch out on my shifting sometimes. I miss a gear, grind a gear, forget to flip the selector switch up or down, and other stuff like that. Over all, I am pretty confident that everything will fall into place and I will pass Friday.

The amount that we have learned over the past week is unreal. The first days of learning to shift seem like such a long time ago. It was just last week. The time flies so fast. Before you know it, school is done and you are on the road driving 80,000 lbs of steel.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Your doing fine my friend. Sorry haven't been on more. Been busy. I'm sitting outside Erie PA in a snow bank disguised as a rest area. I'm headed with a load to Canada sometime I guess. Your old enough to remember the theme song from the Munsters. The finger snap count they do in that song helped me time my shifts. Sounds weird I know, but it worked for me to get the rhythum down. I look forward to Friday's post......You'll do fine, just relax and breath.....

Wine Taster's Comment
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Thanks PJ!

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